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Chapter 3
Doing Cultural
Chapter Questions
What are the aims of ethnography and
How does an anthropologist do an
ethnographic field study?
How has ethnography changed in the past
Chapter Questions
How do the personalities, social status and culture of
anthropologists affect their ethnographies?
What are the special opportunities and problems in
doing anthropology in one’s own society?
What are some of the ethical problems raised by
How do anthropologists use ethnographic data?
Firsthand exploration of a society and culture.
Develops a holistic perspective about a culture.
Reveals the difference between what people
say they do and what they do.
Fieldwork Techniques
Participant observation
Photography and filming
Recording life histories
Using historical archives
Ethnography in History
Anthropology began in the late 19th Century as
a comparative science.
Ethnographers concentrated on small-scale,
technologically simpler societies.
Cultures were place on evolutionary scales of
cultural development.
Early 20th century
Boas insisted that grasping the whole of
a culture could be achieved only through
 Malinowski suggested the main goal for
an ethnographer was to obtain the
native’s point of view.
Feminist Anthropology
Questions gender bias in ethnography and
cultural theory.
Men, who had limited access to women’s lives,
performed much of the fieldwork.
Ignoring women’s perspectives perpetuates the
oppression of women.
Cross-Cultural Comparison
Use statistics to test generalizations
about culture and human behavior.
 Human Relations Area File (HRAF)—
database including cultural descriptions
of more than 300 cultures.
Native Anthropology
Study of one’s own society.
Anthropologists must maintain the social
distance of the outsider.
Becoming more common as native cultures
The Ideal Anthropological Journey:
Thrice Born
We are born into our original culture.
We move away from a familiar place to a far
place to do field research.
We turn back to our native land and find the
familiar has become exotic.
Ethical Fieldwork
Anthropologists must:
 Obtain consent of the people to be
 Protect them from risk.
 Respect their privacy and dignity.