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Ethnography

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					 Ethnography: How we learn what
          we know…
• Ethnographic inquiry
   – What is ethnography?
   – How is it done?
   – Is it testable?
   – Examples of
     ethnographic work
   – Indigenous peoples
   – Fieldwork
               Ethnography
• Ethno – refers to human culture
• Graphy – means description of
• A research process used in the scientific study
  of human interactions in social settings
• Used extensively in anthropology
• Has become increasing popular in many
  different fields over the past few years
• Nursing, education, market research, business,
  etc
                 Ethnography
• Ethnographers should take note of all
  impressions
  – including senses,
  – details about the physical setting including size,
    space, noise, colors, equipment and movement,
  – about people in the setting, such as number,
    gender and race, appearance, dress movement,
    comportment, feeling and tone.
                Ethnography
• Interactional Detail - observing events in an
  intimate microscopic manner to recount what
  happened in fine detail
• Key Events - focusing on key events…such as
  weddings, funerals, etc…is a useful way to
  organize your fieldnotes; it involves selecting
  noteworthy incidents out of the flow of
  ongoing activity
               Ethnography
• Purpose – to describe and explain a facet or
  segment of group social life
• Hypotheses and questions – begin as a broad
  statement about the purpose of the research,
  then are allowed to emerge more specifically
  as data are amassed.
               Ethnography
• Data - verbal descriptions of people,
  interactions, settings, objects and phenomena
  within the context being studies
• Data Sources – the people, settings, and
  relevant objects being observed
               Ethnography
• Data Collection – done by the researcher
  through observation, often combined with
  formal and informal interviews
• Data treatment and analysis – presentation of
  verbal descriptions and/or logical analysis of
  information to discover salient patterns and
  themes
                    The Process
• A question or concern is
  identified for study
• A group to study is
  identified
   – Typically small
   – Typically purposively
     selected
                     The Process
• Permission to study the
  group is obtained
• The researcher
  observes the group
   – Privileged observer: just
     observes
   – Participant observer:
     functions as part of the
     group
                   The Process
• Researcher watches and listens attentively and records as
  much detail as possible (this is called naturalistic
  observation).
• Large amounts of notes are typically generated (My
  example, 15 tapes = hundreds of pages of transcriptions).
• This process may last a week or two or could be years.
• The researcher analyzes the notes, identifies themes,
  looks for answers to research questions, and makes
  logical inferences.
                      The Process
• The final step is to write the
  research paper describing
  the process, observations,
  findings, and conclusion.
• Often rich descriptions are
  provided so the readers can
  make their own
  interpretations.
• This is often described as
  reflective.
• So, How do we get to the
  thick description?
                Analyzing Data
• Asking questions of your data…
   – What are people doing? What are they trying to
     accomplish?
   – How exactly do they do this? What specific means
     and/or strategies do they use?
   – How do members talk about, characterize, and
     understand what is going on?
   – What assumptions are they making?
   – What do I see going on here? What did I learn from
     these notes?
   – How to get from data to analysis?
                Coding Data
• Coding leads you well on your way to
  transforming your fieldnotes into writings that
  speak to wider audiences
• You will sift through your notes and look for
  threads that can be woven together
                    Coding
• Definition: gives line-by-line categorization of
  specific notes
• Coding allows you to discover/create original
  theory in your data
• Grounded theory and emergent theory
• Read line-by-line through your fieldnotes,
  writing codes in the margins and re-read them
  until you have exhausted all possibilities of
  codes (themes, issues, ideas)
     Strengths and Weaknesses
• Strengths
  – Looks at the situation holistically
  – May arrive at greater understanding of the
    problem than other research processes
• Concerns
  – Possible bias on the part of the observer (which
    leads to validity concerns)
  – Generalizability (how generalizable are the
    findings from a small, purposely selected group)
    Criteria for Judging Qualitative
                Research
• Credibility – would the group being observed say the
  findings were credible? Are the findings logical and
  reasonable?
• Transferability – Would a reader be willing to transfer
  the results to another group or setting?
• Dependability – the researcher accurately describes
  the context, setting and changes that may have
  occurred during the study.
• Conformability – if there were additional observers,
  would they describe the situation the same and
  arrive at the same conclusions.
   When to Conduct Ethnographic
            Research
• To define a problem when the problem is not clear
• To define a problem that is complex and embedded in
  multiple systems or sectors
• To identify participants when the participants, sectors, or
  stakeholders are not yet known or identified
• To clarify the range of settings where the problem or situation
  occurs at times when the settings are not fully identified,
  known, or understood
• To explore the factors associated with the problem in order to
  understand it
Making a Living: Five Adaptive Strategies

  Foraging
 Horticulture
 Pastoralism
 Agriculture
Industrialism
         Ethnographic Examples
• Foragers
  – Very few such groups
    remain
  – Eskimos/Inuit
    (Alaska/Canada)
  – !Kung (Africa)
  – Aboriginal Australians
                       Foragers
•   All humans were foragers
    until 10,000 B.P.
•   Out-populated by food
    producers (J. Diamond)???
•   Bands

•   Social mobility
•   Egalitarianism
•   Gender-based division of
    labor
•   Age-based social
    distinctions
               Forager Subsistence
• Anthropologists have identified
  three major variations of the
  foraging subsistence pattern:
• Pedestrian: diversified hunting
  and gathering on foot
• Equestrian: concentrating on
  hunting large mammals from
  horseback
• Aquatic: concentrating on fish
  and/or marine mammal hunting
  usually from boats
                     Population Levels
•   Foraging population densities are
    very low.
•   In harsh, relatively unproductive
    environments, densities of foragers
    have been as low as one person per
    10-50 square miles.
•   In rich environments, the densities
    have been as high as 10-30 people
    per square mile.
•   The optimal community size usually is
    about 25-30 people, depending on
    the availability of food and water
•   Thus high degree of stability
•   Most of human history as Foragers
TODAY almost completely exterminated
          Ethnographic Examples
• Horiculturalists
   – Tribal peoples living a
     ethnohistorical lifeway in
     the present?
   – Few such groups remain
      • Yanomami
      • Ashaninka
      • Kuikuru
  Horticulturalists - Agriculturalists

• Horticulture: an
  agricultural technology
  distinguished by the use of
  hand tools to grow
  domesticated plants.
• Does not use draft animals,
  irrigation, or specially
  prepared fertilizers.
• How are the subsistence
  practices, social
  organization, and political
  organization structured?
                 The oasis theory

• A type of environmental determinism.
• Southwest Asia became dryer 12 to 15,000 years ago.
• People congregated around oases.
• People collected the seeds of wild grasses
• This led to plant cultivation.
• Cultivation of plants attracted wild cattle and sheep and
  goats.
• This led to animal domestication.
• Problem: Domestication did not occur first at oases
         Population growth theory

• Hunting, fishing and gathering were very productive
• So productive that population grew.
• More people needed more food
• People in marginal areas decided to domesticate animals and plants to
  provide new food
• Problems.
• Domestication is gradual and would not provide people with more food in
  the short term.
• Assumes domestication was intentional. However, people cannot predict
  which plants or animals could be domesticated.
Seasonal stress theory of plant domestication
• The earliest plant domestication took place around the margins of
   evaporating lakes. For example, the Jordan River Valley.
• Beginning in the Mesolithic, the climate became warmer with seasonal
   droughts (these are seasonal stresses.)
• Annuals are best adapted to this environment,
    – wild cereal and grains produce abundant seeds and survive for long
       periods of drought.
• People collected wild plants, for example, wheat, barley, and rye.
• They used sickles, which meant that plants with tough stems and seeds
   that did not readily scatter were the most likely to be carried back to
   settlements.
• Some lost seeds germinated at disturbed sites such as latrines, garbage
   pits, and burned over areas.
• People began to promote growth of these annuals.
The Ashaninka and Yanomami as Examples

• Incredible knowledge of
  the forest.
• Technology such as hoe,
  plow, steel.
• Women cultivate.
• Men slash and burn.
• Same plot for 1-3 years.
• Fallow 25 years.
•   Remaining indigenous horticulturalists…
              Social Organization

• No division of labor beyond
  age & gender
• NO SPECIALISTS;
• Unranked kinship
• Bilateral kindred
• Little property, storage
• Matrilocality
• Patrilocality
• SIBLING EXCHANGE
           Political organization
• Informal, flexible
  authority.
• Headman resolves
  disputes
• Fission? When individual
  villages get to big…
• Ego/Enviro
  counterbalanced by
  shamans
• “Keeper-of-Game”
           Political Organization

• What are the potential
  social cleavages?
• Gender, remember the
  Yanomami?
• Privacy
• Feuding
• Jealousy
Often balanced by religion
            Pastoralists – Africa
• Domesticated
  Ungulates
• Diet of 88% Milk
• Blood Cake, drink, ritual
• Meat, all types
• Dung
• Urine, medicine and
  curing of hides
• Skin, bones, horns
        Pastoralists: The Maasi
• How does herding work on the savanna?
• Grazers of grass: cattle (wet season MILK) and
  sheep (dry MILK)
• Browsers (leaves) Camels (annual milk), goats
  (dry milk)
               Animal Husbandry
• How did we get from
  Hunting to Herding?
• Animal Husbandry
• Transition: ~ 10,000 BP
• This was also period of
  agriculture development
• First sheep and goats
• Later cattle, pigs, camels,
  horses
The hilly flanks theory of animal domestication
• Wild sheep and goats were domesticated in the hilly flanks or the foothills
   of the Zargos Mountains in present day Iraq and Iran
• Wild sheep and goats migrated up and down mountains due to the
   seasonal availability of grasses.
• Sheep and goats grazed in the lowlands during the winter and in the high
   past years. In the summer.
• People follow these animals, and became very familiar with their behavior
   and habits
• By 11,000 years ago, the percentage of immature sheep remains
   increased.
• This indicates the presence of herd management
    – Females were spared for breeding and people were feasting on ram
        lambs.
• By 8000 years ago, domesticated sheep and goats were being kept at
   villages like Jericho.
                    Pastoral Nomadism
•   All members of the pastoral society
    follow the herd throughout the year.

•   Transhumance (seasonal movement
    of group with herd) or Agro
    pastoralism

•   Part of group follows herd; other part
    maintains a home village (usually
    associated with some cultivation)

•   Move to cool highland valleys in the
    summer and warmer lowland valleys
    in the winter.
             Patterns of Pastoralism
• Small herd-management units
  consisting of extended patrilocal
  households
• Marriage
• Bride Wealth/Bride Price – the
  cost of children
• Wealth stratification
• Patron-client ties established on
  the basis of cattle loaning
  relations with neighboring
  pastoral groups based upon
  animal raiding
• Decentralized political
  organization
                    Subsistence
• More productive than
  foraging
• 10,000 kg of biomass per
  km2
• Maasai 2 – 6 km2 per person
• Animal husbandry by elders
• Stock-raiding
• Care for herds by women &
  children
• Foraging
• Cash economy
                      Economy
• Pastoral economies
  – based upon
    domesticated herd
    animals
  – members of such
    economies may get
    agricultural produce
    through trade or their
    own subsidiary
    cultivation
                 Means of Production
•   Means of production include land,
    labor, technology, and capital.
•   Land: the importance of land varies
    according to method of production
•   Land is less important to a foraging
    economy than it is to a cultivating
    economy.
•   Labor, tools, and specialization:
    nonindustrial economies are
    usually, but not always,
    characterized by more cooperation
    and less specialized labor than is
    found in industrial societies.
                                  Industrialism
Major changes in agriculture, manufacturing,
production, and transportation had a profound
effect on the socioeconomic and cultural
conditions globally.


Typical characteristics of an industrial society
include:
• a division of labor;
• cultural rationalization;
• a factory system and mechanization;
• the universal application of scientific
     methods to problem-solving;
• time discipline and deferred gratification;
• bureaucracy and administration by rules;
• and a socially and geographically mobile
     labor-force.
           Industrial Production
• Non Agriculture     • Agriculture
  –   Factory            – Major crops
  –   Energy                •   Food
                            •   Drink
  –   Media
                            •   Fiber
  –   Leisure
                            •   Pharma
  –   Information           •   Fuel
  –   Military           – Animal Production
  –   Communication         • Cattle - milk, hide
  –   Politics?             • Pig – meat, oil
                            • Chicken – egg, meat
Industrial Europe
Potatoe Farm
Cattle Lot
Shantys and Hotels
Detriot Ghetto
        A post industrial strategy?
• Is there one? Perhaps in the USA, but can the same be
  said in the manufacturing centers of the globe?
• Are we living in an “information society?” What does
  that mean?
• Are there new strategies for living in this society?
• I would argue, while there are new strategies, we are
  still living within a capitalist society, our subsistence
  patterns have not changed. Our political organizations
  and agricultural practices are very much the same.
  What has changed?
• Globalization of trade, the rise of the information
  infrastructure, the spread of “throw away” capitalism.

				
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posted:10/13/2011
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