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Particpant observation intro_lec_10

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Particpant observation intro_lec_10

  1. 1. ANTHROPOLOGICAL METHODS Participant Observation
  2. 2. Notes and Queries on Anthropology
  3. 3. Haddon – Torres Straits expeditions (1888-9 and 1898)
  4. 4. <ul><li>The Notes and Queries methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Imposed ethno-centric assumptions and blinded researchers to contrary evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Represented social reality as “static” - neglected ambiguity, contradiction and change </li></ul><ul><li>Failed to recognize the relationship between attitudes/norms and behaviour </li></ul>
  5. 5. Bronislaw Malinowski The ‘inventor’ of the concept of participant-observation’
  6. 6. Participant observation produces ethnography But there are different ways of ‘doing’ PO   Malinowski privileged observation Geertz privileged participation PO does not create conflict between qualitative and quantitative methods – but establishes a productive context for applying them appropriately
  7. 7. Participation <ul><li>‘ the ethnographers’ workshop is their own self and the relations that they have managed to establish between this self and some members of a society’ </li></ul><ul><li>Descola 2005 </li></ul>
  8. 8. Participation and role management <ul><li>Does getting ‘the native’s point of view’ mean ‘going native’? </li></ul><ul><li>Rabinow – one is always an outsider and an observer </li></ul><ul><li>Katy Gardner – learning another culture involves bodily transformation </li></ul><ul><li>The importance of REFLEXIVITY </li></ul>
  9. 9. Observation <ul><li>‘ in a science where the observer and the observed share common properties, description is never simple’ (Descola 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>No neutrality </li></ul><ul><li>Not possible to provide a faithful copy of observed reality </li></ul><ul><li>Requires reflexivity </li></ul>
  10. 10. Field notes
  11. 11. To explain deductively <ul><li>1. isolate a certain class of reputedly recurring phenomena; </li></ul><ul><li>2. making hypotheses as to the relations existing between these phenomena; and </li></ul><ul><li>3. elaborating a model of these relations in order to study their formal properties. </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>According to markers the biggest failing of Masters dissertations is the lack of connection between </li></ul><ul><li>The data collected, </li></ul><ul><li>its theoretical significance and </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis (its relation to current debates in the literature) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Advice on fieldwork <ul><li>Westermarck – ‘don’t converse with an informant for more than twenty minutes because if you aren’t bored by that time he will be’ </li></ul><ul><li>Seligman – ‘take 10 grams of quinine a night and keep off women’ </li></ul><ul><li>Malinowski – ‘don’t be a bloody fool’ </li></ul>
  14. 14. Ba-Li Ethnographic Experiment Instructions <ul><li>Your tasks are to: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Learn your ‘new culture’ as a BA or a LI. Obviously time does not permit us to learn a real culture, therefore we have created two caricatured cultures that we hope will permit you to gain some experience of what it feels like to try and understand a different culture. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Make a short field trip to the other ‘culture’. We will simultaneously exchange small groups of ‘researchers’ to do fieldwork among the other ‘culture’. </li></ul><ul><li>When you are not researching on a field trip you will be BA-ing or LI-ing, depending on your culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone will have the opportunity of visiting the other culture and writing fieldnotes. </li></ul><ul><li>Students decide when and how to take fieldnotes . </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Afterwards your tasks are to: </li></ul><ul><li>3. Organise and write up your field-notes in two parts: </li></ul><ul><li>3.1 Write a report of your fieldwork experience and the culture you studied (maximum 300 words). You might try and answer such questions as: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What matters most in the society visited? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How is it exhibited? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How is the society organised? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>3.2 Write 150 words (max) on ‘ what have you learned about doing ethnography?’ </li></ul><ul><li>4. Discuss. What did you learn from this activity? What do you think are the anthropological reasons for doing this exercise? </li></ul>
  16. 16. MEET IN THE DARYL FORD SEMINAR ROOM, 14 TAVITON STREET @ 14:00 hours (Do not go to the class rooms you will normally attend)
  17. 17. Duration <ul><li>When is enough enough? </li></ul><ul><li>When do you know that you know? </li></ul>

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