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Week 3 Notes- (Sept 14/16)

by: Meghan Notetaker

Week 3 Notes- (Sept 14/16) ANTH 0780

Meghan Notetaker
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Laura Brown

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About this Document

These notes include all professors notes on slides, commentary, as well as specific examples
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Laura Brown
Class Notes
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Meghan Notetaker on Wednesday September 16, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ANTH 0780 at University of Pittsburgh taught by Laura Brown in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 118 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Cultural Anthropology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at University of Pittsburgh.

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Date Created: 09/16/15
Intro To Cultural Anthropology Week 3 September 14th What is Ethnography What is Ethnography Spending a lot of time with people Uses thick description Study social life where it happens Participant observation have to account for what you change while you are there Some questions that bug nonanthropologists How can you draw conclusions from a small sample How can you learn things as an outsider Why do anthropologist talk about themselves Value of small sample Allows us to gather context and make connections Behaviors that make little sense in isolation become clearer in context Positivist Approach Positivism a Studies observable reality Go out in the world a Separates fact from judgment a Separate s research subjects from the research process Critical component is Objectivity Research suspends judgment Assumes that all researchers will observe the same thing if they are doing it right Objectivity is a poor fit with participant observation Fieldwork as dialogic Culture is shared Meanings are created through dialogue Fieldwork entails a conversation between researchers and subjects Someone else s presence can change how people act Fieldwork as Intersubjective Anthropologist interact with their subjects Create conditions for study We are our own lab equipment Researcher wants to learn about girl gangs Has them critique her on hair and makeup to learn how a gang dresses Ethnography as First Person Personal experience provides meaning All anthropologist do not have the same experience Reflexivity Anthropologists consider themselves in what they study Anthropologists describe their position and participation Anthropology and first person Anthropology is a cultural activity Where we come from matters This needn t be a flaw US citizen will see things differently from a Japanese citizen Fieldwork is an event Anthropologist don t always blend in Are not always liked Jean Briggs kicked out by the people she studies almost died uses this as data Anthropologist don t always get it right the first time or the second or the third Culture Culture needn t be conscious Culture mat be most powerful when it is absorbed in the course of daily living and assumed to be natural Patterns of action and taste of which we are not aware are called habitus Habitus Habits and preference and ways of doing things that are shared within a group without explicit awareness Cut v delicious what animals you call cute or delicious Cultural Relativism Seeks to understand other cultures on their own terms Assumes that others can be both different and sane Views behaviors and ways of thinking as comprehensible Does NOT assume that they are ethical moral desirable or ideal Sometimes hidden value is revealed Ethnocentrism Belief often unconscious that one s own culture is natural and normal Paradox of ethnocentrism Doing this is a necessary part of everyday life Just not a good way to understand others Or to understand oneself Description as Interpretation Perfect description is not possible also not useful A map on 11 scale is not a useful map Anthropologists make choices about what to describe Description is part of theory and analysis Who is part of an event When does the action begin and end Distributed Cognition Thoughts and memories are linked to people and places Ask in place Bring in objects People did better at assessing value in a grocery store than they did outside on a math test Interviews are a good way to gather info Many people aren t used to being interviewed September 16th Learning How to Ask Ethnographic Fieldwork allows us to gather context and connections ex reasons for end of life decisions Thick Description culture is intersubjective between people emergent behavior makes sense in context parts of social life are interconnected rich detail is needed to figure this out Positivist Approach studies observable reality separates facts from judgement separates research from the research process Objectivity objective research suspends judgement assumes that all researchers will observe the same thing if they are doing it right Situated Knowledge who you are will shape your research results anthropologists admit their limitations use them as data in their study there is no voice from nowhere acknowledging this allows more people to become anthropologists Research as Dialogic fieldwork takes the form of a dialogue between researcher and study participants participants may help to direct the course of study Finding The Field field sites defined by Place Time People System Learning How To Ask interviews can be a great way to get information very few people are used to being interviewed Interviewing as Cultural not everyone is familiar with interviewing one way questions and answers associated with a narrow range of situations most are threatening or not fun Learning How to Ask the interview is a learned way of interacting specific to particular cultures specific to particular domains Interviewing as Cultural assumptions about where and why interviews happen may shape the answers that people give create a situation in which the other people would naturally tell you what you want to know make th the expert Observation participation descnp on decisions about what matters and how ex what s worth writing down Habitus tastes habits and preferences that are often unconscious connected to other elements of culture a reason why asking for explicit explanations might not be enough you often have to observe situations eg ways of standing and walkingwhat is the appropriate way to use your body eg 2 think about the different stances and legs and arms that are associated with playing good football note behaviors context change over time space participation eg if a tennis player has a clothing line outside of their sport who wears it when do they wear it why do they wear it Distributed Cognition thoughts and memories are linked to people and places eg on a ship certain people are in charge of certain parts of the ship captain doesn t know every aspect of the ship and can t control it all at once ask in place bring in objects social life changes and is changed by the material world ecology built environment patterns of use Sensing Cities relationship between life and form how can we observe things to understand people How can we build better things Desire Paths looking at physical traces in material environments Smell smells of cities


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