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Cultural Anthropology 2410.002F16 Chapter 3 Notes

by: Maria Valencia

Cultural Anthropology 2410.002F16 Chapter 3 Notes ANT2410

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These notes cover all of Chapter 3. I want to try my best to have the notes ready for all of you before we get to class so you can add stuff or highlight what each of you think is important. I know...
Cultural Anthropology
Dr. Melina Taylor
Class Notes
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Maria Valencia on Monday September 5, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ANT2410 at University of South Florida taught by Dr. Melina Taylor in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 12 views. For similar materials see Cultural Anthropology in Cultural Anthropology at University of South Florida.

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Date Created: 09/05/16
Cultural Anthropology ANT2410.002F16 Chapter 3 Highlight = Important Person Highlight = Key Concept Highlight = Key Term Ethnographic Fieldwork: Primary research strategy in cultural anthropology involving living with a community of people over an extended period to better understand their lives. Nancy Scheper-Hughes • Arrived in Brazils Alto de Cruzeiro in 1965 initially as a Peace Corps volunteer. That year seemingly large number of babies died due to terrible living conditions. What surprised her was the fact the mothers seemed unaffected by the loss of their child. • She returned multiple times after that for years conducting ethnographic fieldwork and even found a way to reduce infant dehydration but was difficult to convince mothers there was a way to save a child they thought would die anyways. • She related it to the ER, sometimes doctors had to take care of those who were top priority and this is what the mothers were doing. -Not getting too attached to the children with low chances of survival so it wouldn't hurt them as much when they died. They focused on those who had a chance. Whats Is Unique About Ethnographic Fieldwork and Why Do Anthropologists Conduct This Kind Of Research? • Anthropologists start with people in order analyze how human societies work and although they look at the world, they first focus on details and patterns of human life in a local setting. Fieldwork Begins With People Work to see life through others eyes; as they do so participate in activities, take notes, record • music, etc. • Deeper fieldwork involves discovering the complex systems of power that shape their lives. -Gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion, kingship, economic and political systems. Fieldwork Shapes The Anthropologist • Through fieldwork, anthropologists learn to empathize, develop global consciousness, and reveal ethnocentrism. • Many receive a culture shock when they enter the field and then again when returning home. The Nacirema • “Body Ritual among the Nacirema” a famous article written by anthropologist Horace Miner intended to make the strange seem familiar and the familiar strange. -He’s talking about US!!! NACIREMA———> AMERICAN (backwards) • This article just goes to show how what may seem ordinary to us may seem strange to others. Fieldwork As Social Science And As Art Fieldwork is strategy: for gathering data about human condition. • -Through life experiences of local people • Fieldwork is an experiment: for testing hypotheses and building theories about diversity of human behavior and interaction with systems of power - developed techniques such as participant observation, field notes, interviews, etc • Fieldwork is an art: the success depends on an anthropologist to negotiate complex interaction, build trust, etc - Requires: Build personal relationships with community over times Risk being changed in the process Ability to tell stories to audience who has never heard of them Fieldwork Informs Daily Life Brackette Williams suggests fieldwork can be “homework” • -Studied homelessness in New York and in Arizona over several years; she wanted to se whether to give money to them everyday. - Suggest it is socially required homework because it can help those who are confronted with such problem in their daily life. How Did the Idea of Fieldwork Develop? Early Accounts Of Encounters With Others • There were descriptive accounts of cultures before anthropologists came into play. Ex: Herodotus, a Greek historian, writing about travels to Egypt, Persia and Ukraine. Ex: Marco Polo, a Venetian explorer, writing about travels from Italy to China Ex: Zheng He, Chinese admiral, writing about his voyage to India, Middle East and East Africa. Nineteenth-Centurary Anthropology and The Colonial Encounter • Roots of anthropology lie in the intense globalization of late nineteenth century when increased international movement of Europeans occured. -Answered questions like: Who are these people? Why are their foods, clothing, architecture, rituals, etc different from ours or others? Are they related to us biologically or culturally? How? • Fieldwork was not common practice at beginning. Ex: Edward Burnett Taylor didn't even conduct own research, he analyzed reports of others. -Exception to this was Louis Henry Morgan who did fieldwork among Native Americans in the US. -He applied the theory of unilineal cultural evolution. The Professionalization of Social Scientific Data- Gathering and Analysis • Unilineal cultural evolution was rejected for being too ethnocentric, hierarchical and lacking adequate data to support claims. • Early 20th century developed ethnographic fieldwork Franz Boas: Fieldwork and the Four-Field Approach • Early work among Kwakitual people of Pacific Northwest of US and Canada, grounding him in fieldwork. Settled in New York as a professor at Columbia University and embarked on massive project • with his students to document Native American cultures being devoted by westward expansion of settlers across the continent. • Boas did salvage ethnography because he was pressed for time as a result of the culture rapidly disappearing and having limited financial resources. Salvage Ethnography: Fieldwork strategy developed by Franz Boas to rapidly collect four field approach information about the US Native populations being devastated by westward expansion. -The ethnographers and himself met with elders and focused on oral interviews since didn't have time to observe actual behavior. -Shows commitment to four field approach despite limitations • Commitment to cultural relativism as a basic fieldwork perspective Cultural Relativism: Understanding a groups beliefs and practices within their own cultural context without making judgements. Bronislaw Malinowski: The Father of Fieldwork Polish citizen went even further than Boas in developing cultural anthropology research • methods. • He found himself stuck for a year on Trobriand Islands as result of WW1 and wrote a classic ethnography Argonauts of the Western Pacific (1992); an examination of the Kula king, an elaborate system of exchange. -A ring that involved thousands of people from many islands who would travel hundreds of miles by canoe to exchange Kula valuables. Set new standards of fieldwork by urging anthropologists to: • -stay for a long period of time, learn local language, mingle with locals, engage in participant observation and explore the “mundane imponderabilia” Mundane Imponderabilia: the seemingly commonplace, everyday items and activities of local life. • Made participant observation a cornerstone to fieldwork for anthropologists today. Participant Observation: a key anthropological research strategy involving both participation in and observation of the daily life of the people being studied. E. E. Evans-Pritchard and British Social Anthropology • Between 1920s and 1960s British social anthropologists saw anthropology as a science designed to discover component elements and patterns of society. - Adopted synchronic approach: control experiments by limiting consideration of larger historical and social context to isolate as many variables as possible. E. E Evans-Pritchard wrote The Neur, a classic ethnography, based on research with • Sudanses tribe over a period of 11 months documenting the groups social structure. - Later criticized for not considering historical context and larger social world. -During this time, many of the Suban participated in resistance to British occupation despite intensive British pacification campaign against the Subdanese. Margaret Mead: Fieldwork and Public Anthropology • Fieldwork in the 1920s examining teen sexuality in ethnography Coming of Age and then gender roles in Papua New Guinea • But most significant was fieldwork findings at home in US when at the time US argued that gender roles were biologically determined. -Fieldwork testified that the US cultural norms were not found cross-culturally but were culturally specific. The People of Puerto Rico: A Turn to the Global • During 1950s team of anthropologists lead by Julian Steward did collaborative fieldwork at multiple cites on island of Puerto Rico, resulting in ethnography: The People of Puerto Rico -Marked beginning of anthropological turn away form studies of seemingly isolated small scale non-industrial societies towards studied that examined the integration of local communities into modern world system. -New focus on impact of colonialism and spread of capitalism on local people. • Mintz expanded fieldwork to Puerto Rican sugar production to consider interactions of local histories and local production of sugar with global flows of colonialism and capitalism. • Wolf reasserted forgotten local histories into story of the modern world economic system. Annette Weiner: Feminism and Reflexivity • Retraced Malinowskis writings of Trobriand Islands 60 years later noticing aspects Malinowski did not include in writings. -There was a substantial role women played in economy while Malinowski focused on male dominated system of economic exchange. She found they had equal role and equal accumulations of wealth. • Weiner came to believe Malinowski’s work was not wrong just incomplete. • Anthropologists carefully considered the need for reflexivity in conducting fieldwork. Reflexivity: Critical self-examination of the role the anthropologists plays and an awareness that ones identity affects ones fieldwork and theoretical analyses. -Malinowski’s age and gender affected what he saw and what others were comfortable telling him but by 1980s feminist anthropologists like Weiner were pushing other anthropologists to be more critically aware of their own position affects the vision. Barbra Myerhoff: A Turne to Home Wrote two books: One title Peyote Hunt and another Number Our Days. • • Her second books is filled with stories of the people she studied and even included herself as a character. • Number Our Days marks a turn in anthropology from study of the “other” to study of the self; in Which Victor Tuner calls “being thrice born” -First birth: our own culture -Second birth: Immerses anthropologist in the depths of another culture through fieldwork. -Third birth: Return home, rediscovering own culture, now strange and unfamiliar. How do Anthropologists Get Started Conducting Fieldwork? • Cultural anthropologist use a set of techniques designed to assess the complexity of human interactions and social organizations. Preparation • Intense prep before fieldwork in order to find out info about site and issues they will be examining. Literature Review :The process of reading all the available published material about a research site and/or research issues, usually done before fieldwork begins. • Learn the language to avoid interpreters and allow participation in community. Search for contacts: other scholars, community leaders, government officials, host family. • • Research question or problem defined and research design created • Grant application for financial support. • Permission to conduct the study • Protocols to protect local.s • Assemble the anthropologists toolkit: the tools needed to conduct fieldwork, including notebook, pen, camera, voice recorder and dictionary. Strategies • Anthropologists apply variety of research strategies for gathering quantitive and qualitative research. Quantitative Data: statistical info about a community that can be measured and compared Qualitative Data: Descriptive data drawn from non statistical sources, including participant observation, personal stories, interviews, and life histories. • Participant observation allows us to experience their lives through perspective of an insider. -Through this establish rapport that enables anthropologists in becoming insider. Rapport: The relationship of trust and familiarity developed with members of the community being studied. • Over time, anthropologist seek out key informants. Key Informant: a community member who advises the anthropologist on community issues, provides feedback and warns against cultural miscues. AKA “cultural consultant”. Interviews ranging from informal to semi structural and highly structural. • Interview: a research strategy of gathering data through formal or informal conversation with informants. Life History: a form of interview that traces the biography of a person over time, examining changes and illuminating the interlocking network of relationships in the community. Surveys: an information gathering tool for quantitive data analysis • Map human relations. Kinship Analysis: traditional strategy of examining genealogies to uncover the relationship built upon structures such as marriage and family ties. Social Network Analysis: method for examining relationships in a community, often conducted by identifying who people turn to in times of need. • Field notes Field Notes: anthropologist written observations and reflections on places, practices, events and interviews. -Can take on many forms such as elaborate descriptions of people, places and events. Others are reflections on patterns and themes. Some are personal reflections on experiences in fieldwork. -Collection of data allows them to revise details and compare info over time. Mapping • One of the first steps when entering new community is to map surroundings. Mapping: the analysis of the physical and/or geographic space where fieldwork is being conducted. • Ethnographer develops spatial awareness of where people live, work, worship, play and eat. ** Culture shapes the way space is constructed and used** • Built environments shape human life Built Environment: intentionally designed features of human settlement, including buildings, transportation and public service infrastructure, and public spaces. -By focusing on built environment, scholars can analyze the intentional development. -Rarely ever random, rather guided by political and economic choices. -Mapping them can shed light on key dynamics of power on community. • Turn to quantitive data to map who is present in community and its characteristics. -Can be done using the census or gather data directly. -To map historical change over time, turn to archives, newspaper, historical photos, etc. • Mapping today can be aided by online tools like satellite imagery -Help in est location, orientation, etc over time. -By themselves don't provide deep immersion. Skills and Perspectives • Must be open minded, aware of prejudice, and be reluctant to judge. CULTURAL RELATIVISM IN PLAY HERE! • Skilled listener, ask good questions. Listens to what is said and not said. Zeros: elements of a story or a picture that are not told or seen and yet offer key insights into issues that might be too sensitive to discuss or display publicly. Patient, flexible and open to the unexpected. • -Often sitting still is best strategy because have chance to simply observe. -Patience is what makes anthropologists different from journalists. • Opens to possibility of mutual transformation in fieldwork process. Mutual Transformation: the potential for both the anthropologists and the members of the community being studied to be transformed by the interactions of fieldwork. -Risky but can transform on a personal level (self understanding, empathy for others, worldview) Analysis • Regularly reflect and analyze trends, issues, themes and patterns that emerge from data. Ex: Eric Wolf saw culture as a mechanism for facilitating relationships of power. Ex: Evans-Pritchard focused on local culture being studied. • Ethnographers submit local data and cross-cultural comparisons. Emic: involving an approach to gathering data that investigates how local people think and how they understand the world. Etic: involving description of local behavior and beliefs form the anthropologists perspective in ways that can be compared across cultures. Ethnology: The analysis and comparison of ethnographic data across cultures -This process allows us to better see what is unique about a certain community. How Do Anthropologists Write Ethnography? • Most contribute through writing, style and content changed since Malinowski; ethnography changes as anthropology changes. -Women, people of color, non Western countries are now writing and with better communication systems affects conversation between author and subject. Polyvocality Polyvocality: practice of using many different voices in ethnographic writings and research question development allowing the reader to hear more directly from the people in the study • Increase polyvacilty by inviting key informants to help design research or read sections of manuscript. Even authors voice more invoiced than before. Reflexivity Has become more prevalent in written ethnographers with writers making effort to reveal their • own position to eliminate biases. • Ethnographers age, gender, race/ethncity, nationailty, sexuality and religious background has direct impact on 1. ease with which they establish rapport to gain access to community. 2. successful analysis of their findings. Ethnographic Authority • What right does he or she have to present certain material, make certain claims, and draw certain conclusions? -Ethnographic authority not automatically given, so make effort to establish credibility. -Quality and persuasiveness can be significant in establish credibility. What Moral and Ethical Concerns Guide Anthropologists in Their Research and Writing? American Anthropological Association (AAA) developed set of ethnical guidelines. Do No Harm • Seek to contribute to general human knowledge but not at expense of people they study. Ex: 1960s to 1970s anthropologist under criticism for role in colonialism both intentional and unintentionally giving local info to military agents. Ex: Recent two American researchers who compromised subjects health to see how unprotected indigenous pop would respond to intro of infectious disease. Role of anthropologists in military sponsored “national building” projects has been supported • by some but criticized by others who have warned of “weaponizing of anthropology.” Weaponizing of Anthropology: turning anthropological research strategies and knowledge into tool of war. Obtain Informed Consent • Way of protecting subjects is through informed consent. Informed Consent: protects the subjects being studied by ensuring that they are fully informed of the goals of the project and have clearly indicated their consent to participate. Ensure Anonymity Anonymity: Protection of the identities of the people involved in a study by changing or omitting their names or other identifying characteristics. How are Fieldwork Strategies Changing In response to Globalization? Changes In Process Global communication allows for constant communication with anthropologist long after they • have left to keep up to date. • The researched community locals may end up showing up in anthropologists home because of globalized transportation. Changes In Content • Now have to take into account globalization and often need multisite fieldwork to fully represent issue. Ex: Scheper-Hughes continues keeping up with Brazil and how globalization affected them and now including research in organ trade. (Discussed in previous chapters) - Shows how no local community is isolated^^^^


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