in the audience (all-male), but had to peep from behind the curtain! What about Hawthorne effects? WE met this in our syllabus already! The Hawthorne effectis where the presence of the investigator affects how people respond—they change their behavior to what they “think” the investigator should or ought to see. There is always an element of this in doing research. But the longer one is in a setting doing participant research, the more people will take the anthropologist for granted. When you are a “new” person, there is much interest. I will not forget how, at the Marwari play, when I peeped through the curtain to photograph with performance every man’s eye swiveled toward me and the performers stepped up their performance – aimed right at me – so I could “get a good shot!” Hawthorne effect!
15 Naturalistic and Experimental Scientific Research, Again Writing as an anthropologist (my subject-positionality here), I found myself wanting to point out the cultural "blinkers" of the psychology models. Psychology as a social science very much reflects its makers’ cultural models of “what works” and “what people are supposed to be like.” It is vulnerable to these criticisms. Yet psychology enjoys prestige because overall, its practitioners are more likely to use explicit scientific methods (experimental protocols, tests, controlled situations). Next to this we anthropologists can look pretty messy. In fact we have many tools to systematize ethnographic, field research. We are going to use some of these tools in our course. There are many good ways to look at data that can give us interesting insights on what is going on. We'll be looking at this in our article in Unit 2 by Robert Redfield and also in our chapter of CCS. America's most famous cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead had very little control over settings – who showed up, who talked to her, what they might be doing at any time. The method of participant observation recognizes that the investigator’s feelings are reactions are part of the data set! Not so in experimental psychology, where “double blind” procedures are set in place to ensure that the person interpreting data from an experiment may not know the social or other characteristics of participants. Both methods are scientific. Anthropologists face challenges, not least in paying attention to the specification of how we define our data, the explicit procedures we do to get it, and how we analyze it. We see that Miner does not exactly tell us “how he knows what he knows” about the Nacirema. (Because it is explicitly written to follow anthropological style, the reader is going to suppose that he got his data through ethnographic, participant research. Not by sitting in a library or by doing experiments with Nacirema subjects in a laboratory. In Week 2 we will detail more about how naturalistic methods are scientific. What we want to take away from here, is that anthropology has a distinct perspective that focuses on this thing that we call “culture.” The concept of culture invokes a further theoretical understanding of the interrelationship of cultural variables—holism.
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