In this unit (to accompany the SAPIENS podcast S6E8), students will learn that ethnography is a research process that involves fieldwork and studying the cultural practices of a group of people in situ. According to Bronislaw Malinowski, the final goal of ethnography is “to grasp the native’s point of view, his relation to life, to realize his vision of his world.” In this unit, students will explore fundamental ethnographic principles and look at the nature of culture as it relates to social, economic, and historical factors.
Using multiple data sources and methods to devise a comprehensive understanding of phenomena in qualitative research.
Nader, Laura. “Ethnography as Theory.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 1, no.1 (2011): 211-219.
Miller, Daniel. 2017. “Anthropology is the Discipline but the Goal is Ethnography.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 7, no. 1 (2017): 27-31.
Shah, Alpa. 2017. “Ethnography? Participant Observation, a Potentially Revolutionary Praxis.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 7, no. 1 (2017): 45-59.
Consider the following scenario and then provide answers to the questions below. Each answer should be one to two sentences in length.
You are a doctoral student from planet X. Your dissertation involves conducting an ethnography of human activity on planet Earth. Place yourself in a location where you can be a part of human behavior (or recall an event you have experienced, such as a holiday celebration, sporting event, etc., and try to imagine it as an outsider with no frame of reference for the activity). You have completed your experience and are ready to write your report, which answers the following questions.
After completing the “report questions,” please answer this reflection question.
How would you use this information to construct theories about your subjects?
Article: Emerald Publishing’s “How to Use Ethnographic Methods and Participant Observation.”
Book: Stephen Bochner’s Cultures in Contact: Studies in Cross-Cultural Interaction
Aimee L. Richards, Freedom Learning Group