Chapter 5 Methods in Cultural Anthropology What We Will Learn • • • • How do cultural anthropologists conduct fieldwork? What types of data-gathering techniques do cultural anthropologists use? What are some of the problems faced by cultural anthropologists that make fieldwork somewhat less than romantic? What ethical dilemmas do applied anthropologists face when conducting fieldwork? Common Issues in Fieldwork • • • • Gaining acceptance in the community. Selecting the most appropriate datagathering techniques. Understanding how to operate within the local political structure. Taking precautions against investigator bias. Common Issues in Fieldwork • • • • Choosing knowledgeable informants. Coping with culture shock. Learning a new language. Be willing to reevaluate findings in the light of new evidence. Fieldwork • The study of everyday life in the state of Bahia in Brazil (above) presents different problems and challenges to the field anthropologist than does the study of village life in Namibia (below). Participant Observation • Cultural anthropologist Steve Winn conducts participant observation fieldwork in central Africa among the Efe of Zaire. Preparing for Fieldwork • • • • • Obtain funding from a source that supports anthropological research. Take the proper health precautions. Obtain permission or clearance from the host government. Become proficient in the local language. Make arrangements for personal possessions while out of the country. Basic Stages of Field Research 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Selecting a research problem Formulating a research design Collecting the data Analyzing the data Interpreting the data Kenya Kinship Study (KKS) • • Studied the relationship between family interaction and urbanization. The KKS identified several ways to identify concrete measures of family interaction: 1. Residence patterns 2. Visitation patterns 3. Mutual assistance 4. Formal family gatherings Cultural anthropologists collect their data and test their hypotheses by means of: 25% 1. 2. 3. 4. 25% 25% 25% analyzing data. reflexive ethnography. sociometric sampling. fieldwork. 1 2 3 4 Answer: 4 • Cultural anthropologists collect their data and test their hypotheses by means of fieldwork. Data Gathering Techniques • • • • • • • Participant-Observation Interviewing Census Taking Mapping Document Analysis Collecting Genealogies Photography Collecting Data • Alan Rumsey listens to a warrior from Highland New Guinea while collecting linguistic anthropological data. Guidelines for ParticipantObservation Fieldwork • • • When introducing oneself, select one role and use it consistently. Proceed slowly. Assume the role of a student wanting to learn more about a subject on which the people are the experts. Participant-Observation Advantages •Enhances rapport •Enables fieldworkers to distinguish actual and expected behavior. •Permits observation of nonverbal behavior. Disadvantages •Small sample size. •Difficult to obtain standardized comparable data. •Problems of recording. •Obtrusive effect on subject matter Participant Observation • Anthropologist Mark Jenike weighs a duiker that was caught by a Lese hunter in Zaire, central Africa. _____ involves selecting the appropriate data-gathering techniques for measuring the research variables. 25% 1. 2. 3. 4. 25% 25% 25% Interpreting data Research design Analyzing data Collecting data 1 2 3 4 Answer: 4 • Collecting data involves selecting the appropriate data-gathering techniques for measuring the research variables. Once the data has been gathered, the researcher moves to: 25% 1. 2. 3. 4. 25% 25% 25% research design. interpreting data. analyzing data. participant observation. 1 2 3 4 Answer: 3 • Once the data has been gathered, the researcher moves to analyzing data. Anthropological Fieldwork • Anthropologist Marjorie Shostak conducting anthropological fieldwork among the indigenous peoples of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, southern Africa. Anthropological Research and AIDS • • • In 2003 AIDS claimed 3 million lives, or more than 8,200 people each day. 95% of all new AIDS cases are occurring in the poorest countries that are least equipped to handle the epidemic. The life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa is currently 47 years, but without the AIDS epidemic, life expectancy would be 62 years. Anthropological Research and AIDS • • • One study was conducted by anthropologist Michelle Renaud who worked with registered prostitutes in Kaolack, Senegal. It was estimated that 4 of every 10 of Kaolack’s registered prostitutes were HIV positive, as compared to 10% of prostitutes nationally. Almost all prostitutes enforced condom use with clients, but as girlfriends, they required their partners to use condoms only 71% of the time. Anthropological Research and AIDS • • • Nonprostitutes sample were reluctant to insist that their sexual partners use condoms. Renaud concluded that both prostitutes and nonprostitutes did not want to risk losing their partners by implying that one of them might be HIV positive. She recommended to Senegalese health officials that future AIDS education programs target groups other than just prostitutes, including clients of prostitutes and their boyfriends. Distribution of HIV/AIDS Ethnographic Interview • How it is unique: • The interviewer and the subject almost always speak different first languages. • Much broader in scope because it elicits information on the entire culture. • Used in conjunction with other datagathering techniques. Structured and Unstructured Interviews • • In unstructured interviews the interviewer asks open-ended questions and allows interviewees to respond at their own pace in their own words. In structured interviews, the interviewer asks all informants the same questions, in the same sequence, and under the same set of conditions. Guidelines for Ethnographic Interviewing 1. 2. 3. 4. Obtain informed consent before interviewing. Maintain neutrality by not conveying to the interviewee what may be the “desired” answer. Pre-test questions to make sure they are understandable and culturally relevant. Keep the recording unobtrusive. Guidelines for Ethnographic Interviewing 5. 6. 7. Make certain the conditions under which the interviews are conducted are consistent. Use simple, clean, and jargon-free language. Phrase questions positively. Guidelines for Ethnographic Interviewing 8. 9. 10. Keep the questions and the interview short. Avoid questions that have two parts to the answer. Save controversial questions for the end. _____ involve a minimum of control, with the anthropologist asking open-ended questions on general topics. 25% 1. 2. 3. 4. 25% 25% 25% Structured interviews Family profile data Research designs Unstructured interviews 1 2 3 4 Answered: 4 • Unstructured interviews involve a minimum of control, with the anthropologist asking open-ended questions on general topics. Ethnographers in the Field • • Ethnographers in the field are interested in studying all segments of a population. They would include these children from Guizhou Province in China as well as their parents. Choosing A Data-gathering Technique • • What is the nature of the problem being investigated? How receptive are the people being studied? Characteristics of Culture Shock • • • Confusion over how to behave. Surprise or disgust after realizing some of the features of the new culture. Feeling a loss of old familiar surroundings and ways of doing things. Characteristics of Culture Shock • • • Feeling rejected by members of the new culture. Loss of self-esteem because you don’t seem to be functioning very effectively. Doubt over your own cultural values. Symptoms of Culture Shock Compulsive eating Homesickness or drinking Chauvinistic excesses Boredom Irritability Stereotyping and hostility toward host nationals Withdrawal Exaggerated cleanliness Loss of ability to work effectively Excessive sleep Marital stress and family tension Unexplainable weeping Narrative Ethnography • • Narrative ethnographers are not interested in descriptive accounts of another culture written with scientific detachment. Their ethnographies are reflections of how their own personalities and cultural influences combine with personal encounters with their informants to produce cultural data. The Far Side by Gary Larson • Cultural anthropologists often have an obstructive effect on the people they study. The Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) • • • The world’s largest anthropological data bank. Developed for the purpose of testing hypotheses and building theory. Ethnographic data on over 300 cultures organized according to 700 different subjects. Ethics and Anthropology Areas of responsibility for anthropologists: • The people under study • The local communities • The host governments and their own government • Other members of the scholarly community • Organizations that sponsor research • Their own students Tuskegee Syphilis Study • • Herman Shaw, 94, a Tuskegee Syphilis Study victim, smiles after receiving an official apology from President Clinton. Clinton apologized to black men whose syphilis went untreated by government doctors.