Chapter 3: Ethnography and Anthro Practices

What did Phillipe Bourgois study?

East Harlem, NYC
Cut off from mainstream America
Residents Puerto Rican
Isolated bc of lang/edu barriers, unemployment, poverty, ethnic segregation
Spent 5 years studying how people experience marginalization and make a living in an economy that doesn't w

What is the central goal of ethnographic studies such as Bourgois?

Learn about people who live in cultural circumstances different from our own

Why use ethnography?

Around for the better part of a century
Proven to be an effective tool to help anthropologists gather info needed to understand social complexities and inner lives/beliefs of people

Why is it hard to define how anthropologists do research?

Because they do research by creating close relationships with people over many years, can be hard to explain how to do that with culturally different people

What is distinct about ethnographic fieldwork, vs other social research?

although social sciences also collect info about people, their methods are either quantitative (Statistical) or qualitative (descriptive and interpretive)
Anthropologists mostly use quantitative data, cultural anthropology is most qualitative
Emphasis on

What is fieldwork?

Long term immersion in a community
Defining methodology of cultural anthropology

What occurs during fieldwork?

Involvement in daily lives
Observations and questions about what they are doing and recording those answers/observations
Long term = critical, generating important insights, since people may say one thing and then do something different, gives context to

What can you gain from participating in a community?

Can observe what is important to them
What they discuss among themselves
How these matters interconnect to social institutions
Insights into behaviours, actions ideas that people may not notice or understand

Why would you do fieldwork for so long?

This began in 1914, led to new kinds of understandings of native peoples
Does not guarantee cultural relativism, nor that observer can get over ethnocentrism/cultural bias, but inc. likelihood that anthropologist could get sense of world in terms local pe

What are two different reactions (ie say something and a new situation makes them do an unexpected thing)?

triggered by different conditions or contexts
IE., political scandal has politicians criticizing the opposition but not make a fuss when they are part of said scandal
Moral outrage situational

Explain the transition from etic to emic?

May think that informants are paradoxical, unable to be understood
Some time and effort to see things in a local context, the things people say and do begin to make sense, and you will feel lie you can see the world not from an etic perspective, but from

What did Palo Underhill do?

Studied Am shopping mall and advising retail businesses on how to use space to sell products to American consumer
-> mall = socially patterned experience
-> outside in parking lot, everything is featureless and minimal, so no outside attraction has people

Explain cultural tunnel vision?

The idea that we have unquestioned implicit meanings and perspective from our own culture that doesn't allow us to see and think in terms of another culture's implicit meanings/persepctive = ethnocentrism
Life path, build biography -> one chapter

Can you get over cultural tunnel vision?

Not completely - will still think their way of doing it is peculiar, maybe even wrong
But with effort and time, we can see actions as less puzzling, come to accept reactions as making sense in terms of local culture

What are anthropologists trying to do when seeing the world "from a native's POV?

Not claiming the other's way of thinking is better
But it unravels cultural logic where actions that are unthinkable in our society become commonplace

What is an example of "seeing the world form a native's POV?

Bourgois, in East Harlem
Wasn't trying to condone crack using
Had to suspend the judgement off that being bad to understand why they did it

What are the elements of anthology fieldwork incorporates?

Cultural relativism
Ethical behaviour
-> all in one frame of inquire

What does fieldwork use?

Not on a prescribed set of procedures/formulas, but on a toolkit of skills and techniques an anthropologist can draw on, depending on the context

What are the three skills/techniques that are central to creating cultural data and knowledge?

Participant observation

Participant observation

Key element of anthropological fieldwork
Systematic research strategy
During this, recording of what happens during" hanging out"
Building rapport and friendships in a community where they have no friends
Process -> observes things in a field setting, obs

Steps to participant observation

As you gather data - how do you know if the data is accurate, there is anthropologists that have spend years in the field to learn a language, and they were deliberately taught wrong -> how do you know it is truthful?
Triangulation - look at a practice in

Describe observation through triangulation?

Observe in multiple contexts
interviews, observations, all multiple observations
Every shred written, no rock uncovered in that question, and after the expertise, to have something else to compare to - had everyone
Go into archives, ethnohistorical, read

What is required for establishing a rapport in a research community?

A lot of discipline
Acceptance of local customs and practices - no matter how unfamiliar or uncomfortable

Why is participant observation neither pure observation or participation?

As observers, anthropologists cannot remove themselves from actions
Always participating doesn't allow them to see the subtle behaviours, and learning to intuitively understand significance

What is "going native

too much participation, where you don't engage in observation and become a member of community

What does Fabian suggest about anthropologists in the field?

The idea that they are collecting just objective data misses the point of the discipline
the data collected isn't just there, it is created through relationships between anthropologist and people they interact with

What is intersubjectivity?

Fabian's suggestion that observations and understandings gained in the field aren't objective OR subjective, nut that they emerge out of relationships between individuals - inter subject!

What are informants?

Traditional term for people whom anthropologist gets info from
-> seems to only describe on kind of relationship anthropologist has in community, so collaborators (shared enterprise), interlocutor (ongoing convo) and consultants (advice shared by experts)

What are interviews

systematic convos with informants, to collect systematic evidence for the perceptions form participant-observations
Do use them, but emphasis is on participant observation
What if you can't participate - court room, situations where you are not in

What are some kinds of interviews?

Formal and highly structured -> used to elicit specific kinds of info (terms for bio species, village court case proceedings)
Unstructured, casual conversations

What happens in an open ended interview?

Informants discuss a topic, and in the process make connections with other issues
Discuss things anthropologist wants to hear about, or that informants find meaningful

what kinds of questions do anthropologists ask?

Depend on situation and info they are seeking!
Can be drawn from theories and background lit, from advisor, or from curiosity
questions that elicit yes or no unproductive
Goal = GET PEOPLE TALKING, more they talk, more cultural logic is revealed

Explain the nature of interview schedule?

Questions read form a printed script drafted before
Used for survey data collection

Explain the characteristics of the interview schedule

there is a clear focus for the interview
field notes are the interview schedule form

Explain the nature of formal/structured interview?

important questions to ask decided ahead of time
informants answers recorded in some way (writing, recording)
Also often used for survey data collection

Explain the characteristics of formal/structured interview

clear focus for the interview
transcript of answers or of qs and answers

Explain the nature of informal/open-ended interview

General focus for interview, not necessarily clear ideas of questions to ask/info they want
New questions occur through interview
More time in conversation then writing notes (although note taking may still occur)

Explain the nature of conversation

ordinary conversation
no notebooks
Certain questions may be asked, but convo is natural
jot notes taken after talk to remember topics
Privately writes up more detailed raw notes for later fleshing out

Explain the characteristics of informal/open ended interview

Sometimes a clear focus
field notes could be preliminary notes to outline discussion, later used to write up a full description of context and content of discussion

Explain the nature of hanging out/participant observation

spending time with members of culture in age and gender appropriate ways
may occasionally make hot notes, most record details in notes later, when people aren't around

Explain the characteristics of conversation

sometimes a clear focus
field notes more head notes/jot notes, later used for full description of context and content
Notes include topics to follow up on in future

Explain the characteristics of participant observation

No clear focus
field notes mostly head and jot notes, later used for full description of context and content
Notes include topics to follow up on in future

what are field notes?

Written records of information anthropologist collects
usually in nondescript notebooks, written during the ebb and flow of life, or when a big activity is happening
With time and a lot of explanation about where it is going, people get used to you whippi

What ar headnotes?

mental notes made in the field

Why are field notes essential?

later, after being in the field for a year, you get back home, organize and analyze field notes, think about what you want to write, think about it again, and then write it.
that may take years, so your memory wouldn't be sufficient

What do these techniques do?

see the world from POV of people who are subjects of research
Not every ethnographer will experience and record same things, even in same community
very unique and individual experience - different backgrounds, personalities, social identities, theoretica

What are the other methods anthropologists use, other than participant observation and unstructured, open ended interviews?

Comparative method
genealogical method
life histories
rapid appraisals
action research
anthropologists at a distance, analyzing secondary materials

What is the comparative method?

Systematic comparison of data from two or more societies
Ie., Lewis Henry Morgan sending letters to people internationally, asking for lists of kinship terms around the world -> publishing Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of Human Family
-> early ant

What is the Human Relations Area files?

HRAF is a database that collects and finely indexes ethnographical accounts of several hundred societies from all parts of the world
-> paragraph subject indexed for wide variety of topics (kinship systems, trading practice, etc.), allows for conducting o

Who developed the genealogical record?

William HR Rivers
-> cambridge anthropology expedition to the Torres Strait islands, which lie between Aus and New Guinea
-> studying vis perception among Islanders, had high mild colour blindness
-> tried to discern relationships between islanders to see

How was the examination of life histories developed?

1920s, developed as part of fieldwork on IN reservations, bc the questions asked had to do with Am Indian societies before they were transformed by contact with white American society

What do life histories show?

important aspects of social life
whether or not society has changed dramatically
as people develop, they take on different societal roles
by recording life histories, can build an image of how age influences role in community and how typical social roles

What is ethnohistory?

Combines historical and ethnographic approaches
Important to studying non-literate communities, where few written historical documents exist
also intersted in how societies understand and reconnect to past
Ie., difference between Western time and Mayan so

What is rapid appraisal?

researcher drops in for a few weeks to collect data
-> sometimes, applied anthropology studies require answers to research questions within a month or two
Often applied anthropology
Quickly assess places on the ground
Already an expert on the place
2 week

What does rapid appraisal require?

General knowledge of both region and the topic under investigation
Considerable field experience to begin with, so knows to focus on features that distinguish comm under study from similar ones

Describe your profs research

Done in Siberia
Pic -> reindeer herder
Vimeo Relationship of colonialism, cosmology and human-animal relationships Archival data collection Remote mtn region in Mongolia IN hunters and herders Shamanic ideas about landscape Better understanding of how wav

How do you decide which community to enter?

How do you decide which community - or does the community decide?
Alex -> you do an exploratory trip, visit people, find people who are interested, focus is on collaboration, wouldn't be coming w/specific questions
Explain how you are trained and this is

Professional stranger

positive, should aspire to
stranger, shouldn't become too close of a friend with the people you work with -> danger of "going native," idea of losing outsiders perspective, and not having anything to compare to it - fresh eyes looking at it, if you are in

Explain the dichotomy between activist and a scholar?

Many anthropologists feel like they cannot just be a scholar, have a responsibility to those you are studying, those who are repressed
How do you make sure data doesn't effect the people you work with? Others say I have a moral obligation to be an active

What is delegated data collection?

Trying to get data were you cannot go
Photo voice: street kids in Ukraine, with these kids can only work at night, lived in sewers underground, entered certain areas and hunted down by organ mafia, disposable cameras, handed them out to kids, and document

What is an important criticism of social scientific research?

That it may benefit researcher more than participants
-> publication may advance their career more than it improves conditions of studied peoples
-> esp. important in disenfranchised societies

What is action anthropology? Who was advocating for it?

Sol Tax, 1950
research committed to making social change
encouraged anthropologists to offer voluntary help to these disenfranchised communities by airing grievances and solving problems
subjects are equal, yes insert own political values into research

What is participatory action research?

Varient of action research methods
-> promotes community members making the research questions, collecting the data, analyzing the data
based on idea that marginalized people should do their own investigation and planning
encourages a sharing of research

What is anthropology at a distance?

when anthropologists cannot make it physically to the field at all, may conduct interviews with people from community who live elsewhere
Eg. -> Ruth Benedict;s research on Tap society and culture during WWII. Ofc, Benedict couldn't visit Japan, so instead

What are secondary materials used in the field?

media clippings
govt reports
scientific studies
institutional memos and correspondence
-> prove another level of context for interviews

What are the issues facing anthropologists studying their own societies?

Being an "other" heightens sensitivities to another society's culture, much more difficult if yo know language and have well formed views about behaviours and attitudes
-> ways around this = studying social conflict bc their informal logic emerges clearly

What did Laura Nader study?

How Am culture deals with minor injustices
studies consumer complaint letters received by consumer rights activist Ralph Nader
Saw people asserted basic values about fairness and accountability

What are non-industrialized countries' goals for anthropologY?

National development needs - ie researching health conditions of rural and poor people
Also activist stance - ie fighting for minority rights

What are IN goals for anthropology?

Often conduct research to speak not about, but for their societies
Pan Maya ethnic movement in Guatemala, led by linguitts who have studied anthropology theory and methods, to assert research agenda and methods relevant to Maya social interactions

what are the unique ethical dilemmas ethnographers face?

protecting informant identity
limits to first amendments (hello US textbook)
Who gets access to field notes
Spying and war
Ie - do no harm, considerations about to whom anthropologists are responsible, questions about who should control anthropology's fin

Describe the ethics of protecting informant identity

Anthropologists often learn about matters that informants would like to be confidential, and disclosure of this might = social isolation of informant, fighting in community, or criminal investigation
need to conceal identities of everyone they have interv

How did Margaret Mead keep confidentiality?

changed details about characteristics of adolescent girls so nobody, even small community could identify the girls

How do anthropologists differ from journalists?

1. anthropologists stay in community and gather field data for a long time, most coming from participant observations. Journalists usually secondhand, don't stay on assignment for more than few days or weeks
2. no constitutional US protections to conceal

Who should have access to field notes?

Field notes can be highly personal, so often if they are published they are heavily edited
informants insist they should have access to field notes bc they created data and should benefit
on one hand, yes, research should benefit community, but on other h

How is anthropology not spying?

obligated to tell informants that they are researchers
responsibility then, is primary to the informants, not govt agencies or military
Field notes similar to how spies work = clear about identity as researchers
Doubt for good reason: have a past of doubl

How have anthropologists used skills to serve countries?

WWII assist with war effort
-> Ruth Benedict studying Japanese culture from interviews with Jap people in US
-> Sir Edmund Leach in Burma
-> E E Evans Pritchard using knowledge of Sudan to mobilize war effort against Germany
-> David Price, explored Am an

Explain the way anthropologists were used in the US Iraq/Afghanistan wars?

Human Terrain System placed non combatant social scientists with combat units to help officers gather info
us military had little knowledge in these foreign cultures, and military success needed that
But the AAA condemned this program, recognizing that an

What are the three types of anthropological notes?

Jottings: quick notes through action
Field notes: in depth reflections, end of the day/focus time, can be clear differences depending on anthro
Head notes: personal reflection and reflexive observations, look at yourself and how you change and react to di

Describe jottings. Why would you jot if there is potential privacy issues?

Little note books Want small ones to whip out whenever, and a pen that works in all weather
Public vs discreet: letting people see you write, writing discretely, on the transparency of jotting sand field notes, how to build rapports with consultants

What do you write in a jotter?

What do you write? Screws -> is the way you look, the computers we use, the smell, the atmosphere, could record in the room for two weeks to record absolutely anything your senses feel
Walking down street in Scotland, sat in a small town, and Scotland wou

Describe field notes?

Go over jotting and mental notes
Take 2-3 hours to chronologically (or thematically) organize and type up your observations
Identify problems, contradictions, or new questions
Prepare new themes to explore, form questions in jotter for next day
Jotter = c

What are headnotes?

Reflections on your own becoming
Observe own state of being at time: later helps you makes sense of why you observed what you did
Field notes can be skewed by personal experience -> if you can keep track of own explanations that's good
Later compare dates

How do you analyze field notes?

Upon returning home: Read through field notes Developing themes (coding) Indexing codes (by colour and keyword) Index spans all media Using word processor or qualitative analysis software (NVivo) Can import all coded vid files, voice and sound recordings,

What is action research?

Research directed at changing social conditions
1950s and on
Participatory action research: community members as directing co researchers
^^ how qualitative research should be done, in NWT or Arctic, have to abide by IRB, which has this as mandatory

Describe the ethics in fieldwork (lecture example)

First issue of ethics: go to Starbucks with friends, you are having wonderful conversations, and pull your zipper and start writing something into that jotter, and then put it back -> it'll be weird
Might be betraying own friendship, and not confident to