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This chapter introduces students to the field methods and research methods employed by cultural anthropologists. It pays special attention to the field methods of ethnographers, the history of ethnography and the ethics that apply to cultural anthropologists. Ethnography Ethics and Methods in Cultural Anthropology Ethics The AAA Code of Ethics states that anthropologists have ethical obligations to their scholarly field, to the wider society and culture, to the human species, other species, and the environment. To work in a host country and community, researchers must obtain the informed consent from all affected parties. Before the research begins, people should be told about the purpose, nature, and procedures of the research. Also, people should be told of the potential costs and benefits of the research before the project begins. Ethnography Ethnography Is the Firsthand Personal Study of a Local Cultural Setting Ethnographers try to understand the whole of a particular culture, not just fragments (e.g., the economy). An extended period of time living with the group Key cultural consultants Life Histories Life histories intimate and personal collections of a lifetime of experiences from certain members of the community being studied Life histories reveal how specific people perceive, react to, and contribute to changes that affect their lives. Observation and Participant Observation “Participant observation,” as practiced by ethnographers, involves the researcher taking part in the activities being observed. Ethnographers do not isolate variables or attempt to manipulate the outcome of events they are observing. Conversation, Interviewing, and Interview Schedules Ethnographic interviews range in formality: undirected conversation open-ended interviews focusing on specific topics formal interviews using a predetermined schedule of questions. The Genealogical Method Early anthropologists identified types of relatedness as being the fundamental organizing principles of nonindustrial societies. Such as: Kinship Descent Marriage Emic vs. Etic An emic (native-oriented) approach investigates how natives think, categorize the world, express thoughts, and interpret stimuli. An etic (science-oriented) approach emphasizes the categories, interpretations, and features that the anthropologist considers important. Bronislaw Malinowski Bronislaw Malinowski is generally considered the father of ethnography. He did salvage ethnography, recording cultural diversity that was threatened by westernization. His ethnographies were scientific accounts of unknown people and places. Bronislaw Malinowski Malinowski believed that all aspects of culture were linked and intertwined, making it impossible to write about just one cultural feature without discussing how it relates to others. Malinowski argued that understanding the emic perspective, the native’s point of view, was the primary goal of ethnography. Ethnographic realism The writer’s goal was to produce an accurate, objective, scientific account of the study community. The writer’s authority was rooted in his or her personal research experience with that community. Evolution of Ethnography Interpretive anthropologists believe that ethnographers should describe and interpret that which is meaningful to the natives. Experimental anthropologists, like Marcus and Fischer, have begun to question the traditional goals, methods, and styles of ethnographic realism and salvage ethnography. Ethnographic Present The early ethnographies were often written in the ethnographic present, a romanticized timelessness before westernization, which gave the ethnographies an eternal, unchanging quality. Ethnographers today recognize that cultures constantly change and that this quality must be represented in the ethnography. Problem-Oriented Ethnography Ethnographers typically address a specific problem or set of problems within the context of broader depictions of cultures. Variables with the most significant relationship to the problem being addressed are given priority in the analysis. Longitudinal Research Longitudinal research is the long-term study of a community, region, society, or culture based on a series of repeated visits. Longitudinal research study has become increasingly common among ethnographic studies, as repeat visits to field sites have become easier. Survey Research Anthropologists working in largescale societies are increasingly using survey methodologies to complement more traditional ethnographic techniques. Survey research is considerably more impersonal than ethnography. Anthropology in Complex Societies. Kottak argues that the core contribution of ethnology remains the qualitative data that result from close, long-term, in-depth contact between ethnographer and subjects.