The Khoisan peoples of South Africa. London: John Murray. The method is based on the paradox of participating fully in peoples’ lives, while simultaneously observing them from a distance. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 19, 447-67. A substantial proportion of new recruits must continue to undertake long-term fieldwork in places far-away from their home: places where they have to learn to communicate in a previously-unknown language. Further, to assert as Giddens did, that there are no more ‘exotic’ places to study, is equally uninformed. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Regardless of whether the fieldwork is in an Indonesian village or a large company in a European city, that is what anthropologists strive to achieve. Early ethnographies used the etic approach to portray a scientific, objective view of the society. However close one gets to the people one studies, the anthropologist and the people know that she is not a real member of the group and that she will leave after one or two years; that her world is very different from theirs. [6] Having undertaken ethnographic fieldwork in two societies that correspond to the traditional perception of small-scale communities far away from my own home (the hunting and gathering community in the Malaysian rainforest [Chewong], and an agricultural community in the highlands of an island in Eastern Indonesia [Lio]), I turned my anthropological gaze homewards. Their research was undertaken in their offices in British universities - not out in the bush - where they developed their theories of the evolution of culture. The ethnographic method was originally developed in the field of social anthropology, but has grown in popularity across several disciplines, including sociology, geography, criminology, education and organization studies. Marilyn Strathern is reported to have said that anthropologists study social relationships by making social relationships. The evolutionary school of thought maintained that humans had gone through a number of stages in order to achieve the assumed pinnacle of their own time. 1871. Little, W., H. W. Fowler & J. Coulson. Listed in: Anthropology and Sociology, as ANTH-230. Wolcott (1999) defines ethnography is a description of “the customary social behaviors of an identifiable group of people”. Tylor, E.B. Strathern, M. 1988.  The gender of the gift: problems with women and problems with socieity in Melanesia. Ethnographic fieldwork is the method that defines social anthropology. What are the ‘gate-post’ issues from a particular region – those that previous ethnographers have identified as significant there and that need to be addressed? Anthropology as a kind of writing. Through rigorous and persistent study of the various institutions, ideas, and practices that are encountered, an anthropologist seeks to provide an ethnographic study of the community that is informed and anthropologically relevant. Ethnography is a qualitative research method that comes from the discipline of anthropology but is applicable to other disciplines. These, like all good ethnographies, are scrupulous in their attention to detail. 1922. That’s enough about ethnography. Through all these activities, and several more, I hoped to build up a holistic understanding of the complex picture of the practice of transnational adoption from the point of view of the many actors involved (Howell 2006). Increasingly, however, the distinction between the two is coming to be … cultural anthropology and European ethnology), sociology (incl. 1956. ——— & A. Talle (eds) 2012. In France one talks of ethnologie or anthropologie sociale and in Germany it used to be Völkerkunde. Bellstorff, T. 2012. It is noticing the unfamiliar and the unexpected, however mundane, that sharpens the attention and renders everything to be of potential interest. Anthropology Museums and Museum Anthropology. Anthropologists argue for a psychic and cognitive unity of mankind. [3] The desire to untangle the ‘unknown’ is not always the driving force behind an ethnographic venture. R. Goodman, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2001. The situation in the United States developed in a somewhat different fashion. Systems of consanguinity and affinity of the human family. From Encyclopedia of Social and Cultural Anthropology The method required extensive interviewing of named individuals in order to: (1) collect vital statistics among a non-literate population, and (2) record their pedigrees, which reflected rights and responsibilities relating primarily to descent, succession, and inheritance. This made the research challenging in several ways and raised ethical questions on how far to delve into people’s most private and personal lives. She may also use a number of other methods, such as formal and informal interviews, focus groups, and use audio/visual recordings. In recent years two new approaches have appeared in anthropological methodology: multi-sited and multi-temporal fieldwork. When all is said and done, some form of cultural relativism remains the discipline’s trade mark. Simpson, B. Linguistic anthropologists use traditional ethnographic methods such as participant-observation and work with native speakers to obtain local interpretive glosses of the communicative material they record. This course will explore ethnographic field methods and techniques as well as the … In contrast with ethnology, ethnography explores cultural phenomena from the point of view of the subject of the study. Cultural anthropology is the root of the ethnographic roots of education. Ethnographic Methods. Kwakiutl ethnography (ed. Ethnography is the primary method of social and cultural anthropology, but it is integral to the social sciences and humanities generally, and draws its methods from many quarters, including the … Giddons, A. They may not be isolated empty blobs on the map, but people live in an ever-changing world and they cope with new ideas and practices in unpredictable ways. Through a holistic investigation in which patterns of behavior, utterances, and actions are contextualised and placed in relation to each other, a world view[4] may be detected: ideas about human nature, gender, family, economy, politics and religion become discernible. That was a time when intellectual life was heavily influenced by the theories of evolution developed by Charles Darwin (1970 [1859]). Recently, a number of other disciplines have taken to use ‘ethnography’ or ‘ethnographic  fieldwork’ in the methods section of their books, papers, and research applications. Some may be more interested in untangling the underlying sociality of their own world (see, e.g., Okely & Callaway 1996, Lewin & Leap 1996). A pioneering work, and subsequent classic, was the study of young Italian men in a poor part of Boston carried out by the Harvard academic W.F. But every anthropologist, whether a graduate student or professor, writes in their research proposal that participant-observation will be the major method to be pursued. Malinowski and the birth of British social anthropology. British, French, and Scandinavian social anthropology was preoccupied with social structure and institutions. Write an ethnographic account that is authentic and credible. The anthropologist returns again and again at relatively frequent intervals, thus deepening the relationship with the people and widening the scope of anthropological practice in subtle ways. The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. It is only through this that ‘thick description’ becomes possible. (Definition taken from the Glossary of Terms written by Simon Coleman and Bob Simpson) Over the years the approach to writing ethographies has changed. On the origin of species by means of natural selection. At the same time, the ethnographer discovers that so much is also common across space and lived culture. In recent years, equally high-quality ethnographic fieldwork continues to be undertaken in New Guinea and Oceania, not least inspired by the work of Marilyn Strathern (1989), as well as in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, which has impacted contemporary theory. At the same time, the notion of ‘exotic’ is being challenged as anthropologists study a range of urban communities in the Global North as well as in the Global South. ethnography and its origin, with a focus on ethnographies that emerged in the field of anthropology in Europe and those that emerged in the era of ethnography in North America specifi-cally, the Chicago School of Ethnography. This chapter and the next will present a critical review of the more common data-collection techniques and analytical procedures currently practiced by professional linguistic anthropologists. This challenges anthropologists to make clear what they mean by ethnographic fieldwork and what is so special about it. 1995. According to the American anthropologist Clifford Geertz, participant-observation can never become more than a fiction, or an illusion (1968: 154). Chicago: University Press. From the perspective of the culture concept, anthropologists must first treat all these elements as symbols within a coherent system and must record observations with attention to the cultural context and the meanings assigned by the culture's practitioners. The ethnographer always engages with contemporary anthropological theory in her interpretations. 2 vols. Included among such as non‑classical ethnographic methods are; The method is inductive and open-ended. In addition, I joined a group of adoptive families with children from Korea on a two-week ‘return – or motherland – visit’ to Korea, and a group of prospective parents on their mind-blowing journey to collect their children in Ethiopia. Our ethnographic research has involved both innovative engagement and solid grounding in multiple anthropological traditions. Man (N.S.) Methods tell much about Anthropology •We produce ethnographies and people-centered accounts •Our methods organize our goal to talk and understand people and their contexts •Produce data that are valid ethnographically •Essential to evaluating our theoretical assumptions Non-majors who are interested in ethnographic studies continue to be welcome in the Department of Anthropology's core methods courses (ANT 300 … They make one acknowledge that so much of what is taken for granted, what is considered to be ‘natural’ and right, is very far from the case. Anthropologists have always engaged in soul-searching regarding their disciplinary practices. Okely, J. Princeton: University Press. The lawyer-ethnographer L.H. Epilogue: notes on the future of anthropology. Mead, M. 1928. Chisungu: a girl’s initiation ceremony among the Bemba of Zambia. She has subsequently undertaken fieldwork in eastern Indonesia and she has performed a major study on values and practices of transnational adoption in Norway. In Anthropology and autobiography (ASA Monograph 29) (eds) J. Okely & H. Callaway. Regardless of where the fieldwork is undertaken, the ethnographer must first have obtained a thorough grounding in the basic principles of the discipline of anthropology. Berkeley: University of California Press. Only through familiarity with local values and practices will the magic of serendipity come into play. Multi-temporal fieldwork (Howell & Talle 2012) involves a continued relationship with the site of one’s original fieldwork. The anthropologist goes to the selected group of people that she wants to study and settles down in their midst. Recently, these methods have been integrated with new forms of documentation of verbal practices developed in such fields as urban sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, and conversation analysis. Primitive culture. Studies that throw light upon alien practices and values often lead to self-examination. In other words, qualitative research is a study using a naturalistic approach to finding and discovering the Pangertian or understanding of phenomena in a specific context. Cultural data assumes the form of directly observable material items, individual behaviors, performances, ideas and arrangements that exist only in people's heads. & S. Coleman 2017. The choice of where to go is often dictated by two considerations: a place that the anthropologist thinks would be congenial to her taste, perhaps a place she has heard of or read about and which appealed to her imagination and sense of adventure; and a place that she thinks might help her to answer some theoretical issues that, through readings and lectures, have aroused her intellectual curiosity. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Contribution to Knowledge. For example, in recent years, some anthropologists have moved away from face-to-face participant observation to studying alternative constructions of cultural life, such as emergent online virtual worlds (e.g. Berkeley: University of California Press. It is the ability to make discoveries, by accidents and wisdom, of things which one was not in quest of. This forces the researcher to allow herself to be open to the unexpected event or utterance. Such paradoxes become apparent only through long-term fieldwork. ‘Qualitative research’ is not the same as ethnography. Ethnography in/of the world system: the emergence of multi-sited fieldwork. [1] This potential confusion of the two terms is most commonly found in Anglo-Saxon anthropology. Antioch Review 28, 139-58. However, in this anthropologists may be their own worst enemies. Â. Ahmed, A. S. & C. Shore (eds) 1995. As a result of these two aspects of the critique, many chose instead to do historical archival studies or studies ‘at home’ or so-called ‘dialogical studies’ (Borneman & Hammoudi 2009). Ethnographic fieldwork used to be more open-ended than it is today, when increasingly anthropologists go to the field with a particular research question in mind. Definition of Ethnographic Research. It was not until the arrival on the British anthropological scene of the Polish intellectual Bronislaw Malinowski (see below) at the end of World War I, whose path-breaking studies of the Trobriand Islanders were based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork, that participant-observation became integral to the discipline of social anthropology. Boas and his students were firm cultural relativists. Many would agree and argue that for this to be achieved, the comparative ambition of anthropology must be cherished. In The future of anthropology: its relevance to the contemporary world (eds) A.S. Ahmed & C. Shore, 272-7. He goes on to state that: [a] discipline which deals with an evaporating subject matter, staking claim to a method which it shares with the rest of the social sciences anyway, and deficient in theoretical traditions […] does not exactly add up to defensible identity of anthropology today (Giddens 1995: 274). It is first and foremost the fieldwork method of participant-observation and the kinds of anthropological questions, debates, and analyses that spring out of it as these are embedded in an holistic analysis – questions about social production, and the cultural meaning of, for example: kinship, sociality, labour, money, exchange, social stratification, conflict, authority, gender etc. Her D.Phil was obtained at the University of Oxford and was based on 18 months of fieldwork with the Chewong – a hunter-gatherer community in the Malaysian rainforest. The effect of the Writing culture critics (Marcus & Fisher 1986) rendered fieldwork, especially in ‘exotic’ places in the South, politically incorrect in many university departments. Anthropology as cultural critique: an experimental moment in human sciences. Both are advocated as a means towards a fuller and more complex understanding. For this reason, anthropologists have sought out societies that seemed to be very different from their own and, during the first half of the twentieth century, most went to undertake their fieldwork in small - often minority - communities in Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. The emphasis in the Ethnographic Methods for Educational Analysis addresses these questions in an original manner grounded in the long history of anthropology as a discipline dedicated to understanding human action in all its contexts. The continued practice of participant-observation ethnography and the resulting theoretical development of the discipline of anthropology since that time clearly refute Giddens’ claim. He further considers ‘how recent trends in anthropology might coalesce in a further shift, this one toward an anthropology of the good capable of recovering some of the critical force of an earlier anthropology without taking on its weaknesses (Robbins 2013: 447). Anthropology is an academic discipline that constructs its intellectual imaginings upon empirical-based knowledge about human worlds. To base one’s study on the ‘native’s point of view’, and to disentangle what really goes on rather than what people say goes on, is one central advantage of the method. While the cutting edge in the discipline may be the most recent theoretical concepts, they often soon lose their attraction, whereas the old anthropological texts based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork rarely lose their salience. In his epilogue, ‘Notes on the future of anthropology’, to the volume of the same title edited by Ahmed and Shore (1995), the sociologist Anthony Giddens argues that anthropology has nothing unique to offer, that with the ‘disappearance of the exotic’ and the fall of colonialism, the distinctiveness of anthropology is under threat. Anthropology is a discipline of amazement; knowledge of other peoples’ lives obtained during ethnographic fieldwork never ceases to astonish, even stupefy the ethnographer. London: Athlone. The key word here is fieldwork. However, increasingly anthropologists are eager to investigate places or people closer to their own experience. Richards, A. Annual Review of Anthropology 24, 95-117. ——— & M.J. Fisher 1986. Boas, F. 1966. "Ethnography is the recording and analysis of a culture or society, usually based on participant-observation and resulting in a written account of a people, place or institution". Oxford: University Press. However, while such methods are shared by other disciplines, anthropologists argue that they gain a different and more holistic and profound understanding when they engage in a participant-observation regime. Today, however, the extreme form of cultural relativism is contested, not least through the experience of ethnographic fieldwork that refutes the notion of many humanities. The advent of new technologies for the electronic recording of sounds and actions has broadened the range of phenomena that can be studied, increased our analytical sophistication, and, at the same time, multiplied the number of technical, political, and moral problems that a fieldworker must confront. & A. Hammoudi (eds) 2009. Ethnography is an end in itself; it is not a means to anthropological ends. Either way, fieldwork is informed throughout by anthropological concerns. The aim was, and is, to use that knowledge to address overarching theoretical questions concerning the variety and similarity of human life as this is manifested through kinship, religion, classification, economic, and political life. Out in the field: reflection of lesbian and gay anthropologists. London: Faber. Writing culture: the poetics and politics of ethnography. The main point is that not only do anthropologists undertake long-term deep immersion fieldwork regardless of the geographical location of their ‘field’, but they insist that ethnography and anthropology are two sides of the same coin. 1964. View Academics in Ethnographic Methods (Anthropology) on Academia.edu. Anthropology as a discipline without participant-observation fieldwork would have very little to offer the academic world, or the general public. As they settle in unfamiliar and often uncomfortable circumstances, the relationship may be an unequal power relationship, but not in the sense the critics argued. London: Macmillan & Co. Geertz, C. 1968. [4] The expression ‘world view’ is theoretically contentious in anthropology. See more. We will explore articulations and critiques of feminist ethnographic methods that engage researcher positionality and the politics of research. However, it is worth bearing in mind that much innovative theoretical insight of general import was gained from the early studies of small-scale societies in the Pacific, Amazonia, and Africa, and that these have shaped the anthropology of development and applied anthropology as much as they have academic anthropology. The principles that Malinowski identified apply today as much as then. And, according to Malinowski, the final goal is ‘to grasp the native’s point of view, his relations to life, to realise his vision of his world’ (1922: 25, original emphasis). These ethnographic experiences render invalid claims of radical alterity or of human incommensurability. Multi-sited ethnography (Marcus 1995) is a method of data collection where the ethnographer, rather than staying in the same community over time, follows a group, a material object, a particular topic, or social issue through different field sites geographically and/or socially. It is particularly common for anthropologists from the Global South to undertake their ethnographic research in their own country. At the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries, anthropologists reviewed the “primitive” cultures through visits to other countries and struggled with the community for a long period of time. While American anthropologists were largely studying American Indians in their own country and in Central America, European anthropologists went to Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. Whyte (1943). Nevertheless, most anthropologists would agree that it is an ambition which is central to the future identity of the discipline. 5 Contribution to the Study of Education. There has been some confusion regarding the terms ethnography and ethnology.The latter, a term more widely used in Europe, encompasses the analytical and comparative study of cultures in general, which in American usage is the academic field known as cultural anthropology (in British usage, social anthropology). [1] This is how anthropologists understand the world. Â. Dresch, P. 1992. Feminist Ethnography is both methodology and method that seeks to explore how gender, race, sexuality, and subjectivity operate in a variety of contexts. I was less anxious about intruding into people’ lives. Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford 23(1), 17-36. At first glance that seems straightforward. This gave rise to the so-called nature or nurture debate that, in some form or other, is still with us today. Engels, F. 1902 [1884]. The job of the anthropologist is to demonstrate the many ways that humans imaginatively create socio-cultural worlds. Others seem not to appreciate the epistemological consequences from such a unity. Rather, in Britain a group of men subsequently termed ‘armchair anthropologists’ laid the groundwork for the comparative study of human society and culture. Participant observation is one type of data collection method by practitioner-scholars typically used in qualitative research and ethnography.This type of methodology is employed in many disciplines, particularly anthropology (incl. Social change in Tikopia: restudy of a Polynesian community after a generation. Moreover, participant observation is an anthropological way of working, not a method of ethnographic … Ethnographic fieldwork, carried out according to the method of long-term participant-observation, is what defines social anthropology. It is a methodological term independent of place. 1996. All rights reserved. At the same time, it is important to bear in mind that participant-observations presuppose a central premise, namely that any ethnographic experience must be preceded by an examination of ones’ own ‘pre-understanding’ – to be reflexive about the understanding that is brought from home. First, most who have carried out fieldwork in rural areas of Asia, Africa, or Latin America do not agree that they ‘study down’ in any post-colonial sense. Linguistic anthropologists use traditional ethnographic methods such as participant-observation and work with native speakers to obtain local interpretive glosses of the communicative material they record. Religious, gay, youth, poor, immigrant, bankers, hospital wards, and many more communities in the vicinity may be as ‘remote’ from their previous experience and as ‘exotic’ as any community in the Global South. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Debates about methods, the status of findings, and the profoundly personal and idiosyncratic nature of fieldwork have all been hotly discussed – in and out of print – since the famous London School of Economics seminars under Malinowski. The golden bough: a study in comparative religion. I undertook a study of the practice of transnational adoption in Norway. The aim of ethnography is to continuously expand our knowledge about the richness of human imagination and the ways that humans organise their lives. In his response to criticisms from the Writing culture debate, Spencer wrote, ‘Anthropologists…[do not just write, they] wade into paddy fields, get sick and read bad novels rather than confront another day of mounting misapprehensions; they also take photographs, make films and tape recordings […] the fact that they mainly do it by themselves in strange places is another oddity…’(Spencer 1989: 160). This is the premise for how they perform their fieldwork – wherever that may be – and this is the basis for their writings. They are rarely in a position to influence anything, even should they wish to do so. 2013. The thrust of this postmodernist critique was directed at the kind of texts that had resulted from ethnographic fieldwork. This renders ethnographic research more dynamic than was previously possible. Malinowski’s studies from the Trobriand Islands is a prime example. He visited them over a long period of time – from the eighteen-fifties until his death in 1881 – and learned to speak their language. It is important to clarify this for the future of the discipline; otherwise, ‘…our protest will be of no avail unless we can explain what we mean by ethnography in terms of what is cogent and intellectually defensible’ (Ingold 2016). Ethnography (from Greek ἔθνος ethnos "folk, people, nation" and γράφω grapho "I write") is a branch of anthropology and the systematic study of individual cultures. In 2019, ethnography is a methodology (think: practice that involves combining multiple research methods in order to best answer a question or questions), and … Cultural studies and social anthropology: contesting or complementary discourses? Fieldwork has been debated over and over. They also use elicitation techniques similar to those employed by typological linguists interested in grammatical patterns. 1871. However, the ideals of the participant-observation method guide all interaction in the field, and ethnographic field research continues to be inductive.Â, American cultural anthropology focused on identifying cultural values and ethos embedded in individual actors, and their field-research revealed much about religious understandings, mythology, and notions of personhood. Many will argue that such research is best carried out after having had the experience of fieldwork elsewhere – this was my experience[6] – while others claim that a conceptual boundary between home and away is artificial. Ethnography and general theory or people versus humankind. Ethnography is the practice developed in order to bring about that knowledge according to certain methodological principles, the most important of which is participant-observation ethnog… The previous two in soul-searching regarding their disciplinary practices imaginings upon empirical-based knowledge about human worlds kinship.. Of human understanding and human social ethnographic methods anthropology cultural studies and social life most found... Largely to the postmodern critique of ethnographic theory 4 ( 1 ),  447-67 multiple anthropological traditions a theoretical. Make based on her three fieldworks Terms written by Simon Coleman and Bob Simpson ) methods. 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