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intrB21 - Yanomamo 1

intrB21 - Yanomamo 1 - largely on male informants and his...

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Anthropology 100 Lecture Outline Fieldwork among the Yanomamo  1. The fieldwork experience - Chagnon’s first encounter with the Yanomamo was far from the romantic image of fieldwork that he had imagined - One difficulty that faced him, as it does all anthropologists, was of making contact - he did it through a missionary working in the area; this meant that he worked with Yanomamo who were unusually connected to missionaries and the outside world - such biases can sometimes affect the accuracy of anthropological accounts - Relationships with key informants can also bias accounts - Chagnon, for example, relies greatly on two informants who are not typical Yanomamo: one is a village headman, another is an outsider, and both are unusually fierce - to what extent does this shape his depiction of violence and warfare among the Yanomamo? - Other possible biases exist as well, notably gender; as a man, Chagnon relies
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Unformatted text preview: largely on male informants, and his picture of Yanomamo life is largely a male picture- the women in the tribe might regard violence with very different eyes than men- All of these biases are to some extent inherent in the nature of fieldwork; other fieldworkers would have different biases, but none would be able to do purely objective research 2. Fieldwork methods- Chagnon relied on what anthropologists sometimes call the genealogical method, collecting family histories in order to get a sense of the culture as a whole- since the Yanomamo have rules against saying the names of dead ancestors, they often lied to him, at times in comical ways- to get around their reluctance, Chagnon used subterfuges to get people to tell him the names of other families’ ancestors- the process allowed Chagnon to collect very useful data, but it raises troubling ethical questions....
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