Ethnographic Fieldwork Homework

Ethnographic Fieldwork

Ethnographic fieldwork has been a central part of the cultural anthropological investigation since the field’s inception. Franz Boas, the father of American Anthropology, sent his students across the globe to document cultures, especially those he felt were going “extinct” – disappearing in the face of globalization and cultural assimilation. One of his more famous students was Margaret Mead, who wrote Coming of Age in Samoa. Early anthropological work almost always involved going abroad to a non-Western culture, with the exception being those anthropologists who studied the indigenous peoples of North America. Follow this link for custom homework help services

Ethnographic fieldwork was an essential requirement of becoming a “real” cultural anthropologist. It allowed the student to cultivate the biocultural perspective necessary to be able to discuss other cultures from a truly relativistic perspective. Today there has been a shift away from this view. Many anthropologists and indigenous people argue against ethnographic fieldwork on the grounds that it is an extension of the colonial period – that it is ethnocentric to view yourself in a position to study another culture and tell them what their culture really is/means/etc. At the same time, you have a dwindling number of cultures to be studied as many of them have already had anthropologists come to their village or town sometime in the past 100 years. You also have anthropologists from the cultures who wish to study their own culture and present their views of their culture to the world.

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