MSU Body Ritual Among the Nacirema part 1 Compose posting on the main points rendered in Horace Miner’s article “Body

MSU Body Ritual Among the Nacirema part 1

Compose posting on the main points rendered in Horace Miner’s article “Body Ritual among the Nacirema.”

3 paragraphs ill tip you hehe


Bronislaw Malinowski, a Polish born British social anthropologist who conducted his fieldwork among the Trobriand islanders in the beginning of last century is widely credited as the anthropologist who introduced ethnography as a scientific enterprise. Malinowski maintained that in order to understand the native point of view, the ethnographer has to immerse totally in the culture he/she intends to study. Total immersion, he maintained further, requires participant-observation, the technique of learning a people’s culture through social participation and personal observation. Simply put, participant-observation requires eating food of the people being studied, learning how to speak and behave acceptably, and personally experiencing their habits and customs.

However, some of the photographs of Malinowski’s actual fieldwork reveal a rather different scenario (see the photographs of Malinowski’s fieldwork in the PowerPoint presentation on ‘Doing Cultural Anthropology’) in which the imposing figure of Malinowski clad in his European clothes and shoes can be seen interacting with natives.

Was he preaching something that he himself has never practiced? Or, is ethnography a defective method to begin with? Doing Cultural Anthropology:
Field Work
Doing Cultural Anthropology

Ethnographic Field Work has long
been considered the central ritual of the
tribe of cultural anthropology.
Cultural anthropologists, however, use
two other research methods, namely,
ethnology, and ethno history, in
addition to ethnography.

Ethnology, according to the current
usage of the term, refers to the
comparative study of two or more
cultures. Ethnologist, in this sense, is a
researcher whose investigative interests
primarily exist in cross-cultural
Ethno Historical Research

Ethno Historical Research refers to
the use of historical documents and
archival materials in the process of
inquiring on how a particular culture
has changed over time.

Ethnography refers to a written, visual, or
virtual anthropological description or
monograph of a specific culture, based on
data gathered during the process of field
Many anthropologists consider ethnography
as the central research methodology of doing
cultural anthropology.

The term ethnography finds its origin
in the two Greek words ethnos
(“people” or “a division of people”) and
graphos (“writing”). Thus ethnography
is writing about people.
Ethnographic Research
▪Fieldwork (first hand
participation in an initially
unfamiliar social/cultural
▪Production of
monographs (analyzing,
interpreting and reporting
field data through written,
visual, or virtual accounts)
Ethnographic Method

The application of the ethnographic method
enables cultural anthropologists to immerse in the
lives and cultures of the people they are trying to
understand, and through that up close and personal
experience, to gain some insights into the meanings
those people ascribe to their existence.
It is a unique method of qualitative research driven
by tension, a tension created by the ethnographer’s
attempt to immerse the lives of others while
attempting to maintain his/her own emotional
balance simultaneously.
Ethnographic Method

Cultural anthropologists are aware of
the fact that the understanding of other
cultures that they can reach can be, at
best, limited. The ethnographic method
transforms the anthropological
fieldworker into a “marginal person,” an
outsider who knows only something of
what it is to be an insider.
Ethnographic Method

Provides the ethnographers a means of
tapping local/native perspectives or
community “funds of knowledge” (Moll and
Greenberg, 1990, Genzuk, 1999) and bottomup insights
Provides a means of identifying salient
categories of human experience while
enriching the exploratory process of the
arenas of human similarity and difference
Ethnographic Method

Allows to study people’s behavior in everyday
contexts rather than under experimental
conditions created by the researcher
Allows to gather data from a variety of
sources, yet emphasizes participantobservation and informal or
“unstructured” interviews as the primary
Ethnographic Method

Allows the ethnographer to commence “unstructured”
data gathering without following through a detailed
plan set up at the beginning.
Helps to understand that the categories used for
interpreting people’s thoughts, words, and actions
are not pre-given or fixed. This does not mean that
the ethnographic data gathering is unsystematic.
Rather, it is to simply convey that, initially the data
are collected in as raw a form, and on as broad a
front, as possible.
Ethnographic Method

Allows the ethnographer to focus usually on a single setting or
group, of relatively small scale. In Life History Research, the
focus may even be a single individual.
However, some contemporary anthropologists have suggested
the idea of Multi-Sited Ethnography (Marcus, George E.,
1995, Ethnography in/of the World System: The Emergence of
Multi-Sited Ethnography, In Annual Review of Anthropology,
Vol.24: 95-117) and Multi-Positional Ethnography (Kurotani,
Sawa, 2005, Home Away from Home: Japanese Corporate
Wives in the United States) in the globalizing world today.
Ethnographic Method

Anthropologist George E. Marcus (1995) suggests
that ethnography should move from its conventional
single-site field location to multiple sites of
observation and participation.
Such a methodological shift of ethnography that
cross-cuts dichotomies such as the ‘local’ and the
‘global,’ and the ‘life world’ and the ‘system’ is
required, contends Marcus, in order to grasp the
systemic global interconnections and
interdependencies or the world-system. Marcus
coined this emerging methodological trend in
anthropological research as multi-sited
Ethnographic Method

Emphasizes the interpretation of the
meanings and the functions of human
thought and behavior in the analysis of data
Allows verbal descriptions and explanations to
play a dominant role while only allowing
quantification and statistical analysis to play a
subordinate role
Ethnographic Data Gathering
3 kinds of data collection
◼ Interviews
◼ Participant-Observation
◼ Documents
3 kinds of data
◼ Quotations
◼ Descriptions
◼ Excerpts of Documents
Techniques of Ethnographic


formal (“structured”) interviews
informal (“unstructured”) interviews
individual interviews or depth interviews (conducted in person in
the field)
group interviews (focus group)
long interviews (conducted between the ethnographer and a single
respondent while reviewing and discovering analytic and cultural
Charting of social networks
Construction of genealogies
Detailed work with well-informed informants
Problem-oriented research
Longitudinal research or continuous long-term study of an
area or a site

The ethnographic method relies heavily
on up-close, personal experience and
participant-observation, instead of mere
observation, by anthropologists trained
in the “art of fieldwork” (Wolcott,
1995). Ethnographic fieldworker is a
participant-observer, not an onlooker.

The purpose of participant-observation
is to get the insider’s perspective so the
ethnographer is not only seeing, but
also “feeling.”
Experiencing a research environment as
an insider is what necessitates the
participant part of participantobservation.

At the same time, however, there is
clearly an observer side to this process.
The challenge of the ethnographer is to
synthesize participation and observation
so as to become capable of
comprehending the research experience
as an insider while describing the
experience for outsiders.

It is an omnibus field strategy in that it
simultaneously combines

Document analysis
Interviewing of informants
Direct participation and observation, and

Informal or “Unstructured” Interview
Formal or “Structured” Interview
Group Interview or Focus Group (group
method of qualitative research)
Depth Interview (practiced mainly by
psychological inquirers)
Long Interview (conducted between the
ethnographer and a single respondent or

There is no single correct formula that
is appropriate for every ethnographic
situation, and no single way of wording
questions that will always work.

Different types of interviews have their
own strengths and weaknesses:

Informal or “Unstructured” Interview
Interview Guide Approach
Standard Open-ended Interview

Ethnographers often select the type of
interview or combination of types that is
most appropriate to the purpose of the
ethnographic project

Ethnographers collect a variety of
information through interviews:

Behavioral data
Sensory data
Background information

The following factors collectively
generate a unique situation for each
ethnographic interview:

Specific evaluation situation
Requirements of the interviewee
Personal style of the interviewer

Therein lie the challenges of depth

Situational responsiveness
Sensitivity to get the best data possible
Use of Questions in

Ethnographers often think and plan ahead of time
how different types of questions can be most
appropriately sequence of each interview topic,
including past, present, and future-related questions
They ask open-ended, clear questions, one question
at a time, using comprehensible and appropriate
language while avoiding leading questions
They use probes and follow up questions to solicit
depth and detail
Use of Questions in

Ethnographers are particular about
communicating clearly what information is
desired, and why that information is salient.
Moreover, they let the interviewee know how
the interview is progressing
They listen attentively and respond
appropriately to let the informant know s/he
is being heard. This is specially helpful in
establishing a personal rapport and a sense
of mutual interest
Use of Questions in

Ethnographers are clearly aware of the
difference between a depth interview
and an interrogation.
Qualitative evaluators such as
ethnographers conduct depth interviews
whereas police investigators, tax
auditors, and the likes conduct
Production of Ethnographic

While conducting fieldwork:
keeping formal field notes
maintenance of a personal diary
After completing fieldwork:
analysis and interpretation of data
writing ethnographic accounts
Analysis and Interpretation of

Process of analysis and interpretation of
ethnographic data involve:

Disciplined examination
Creative insight and
Careful attention to the ethnographic

Process of bringing order to ethnographic
data, assembling and organizing them into
patterns, categories, and fundamental
descriptive units
This process involves consideration of words,
tone, context, non-verbal codes, internal
consistency, frequency, extensiveness,
specificity of responses and big ideas
In analysis, data reduction strategies become
truly essential (Krueger, 1994)

Attaching meaning and significance to
Explaining descriptive patterns
Looking for possible links among
descriptive dimensions
Doing Fieldwork

Fieldwork is an ongoing, multifaceted
research experience.

Choosing a Problem and Site
Obtaining Funding
Doing Preliminary Research
Arrival and Culture Shock
Choosing a Place to Live
Working in an Unfamiliar Language
Gathering Data
Interpreting and Reporting Data
Earlier Ethnographic Styles

Detached-observer-oriented, objective
ethnographies. This was the style that dominated
“classic” ethnographies. These ethnographies were
written at a time when practicing salvage
ethnography (belief that the ethnographer’s job is
to study and record cultural diversity threatened by
Westernization) and attempts of authoritatively
describing cultures seemingly frozen in the
ethnographic present (the time before
Westernization, when the “true” native culture
flourished) were the norm.
Contemporary Ethnographic

Reflexive ethnography (putting in
the text ethnographer’s own feelings
and reactions to field situations)
Dialogic ethnography (writing
ethnographies with a multitude of
Ethnographic Fieldwork:
Malinowski Among the Trobriand
Islanders (1922)
Ethnographic Fieldwork: Margaret
Mead in Samoa (1925)
Ethnographic Fieldwork: Chagnon
Among the Yanomamo (1964)
Ethnographic Fieldwork: the
Marshall Family Among the !Kung
in Kalahari, Africa (1955)
Contemporary Ethnography

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