Anthropological Fieldwork : Ethnocentrism Through Problematizing And Challenging The Anthropologist 's Own

773 Words Feb 22nd, 2016 4 Pages
Anthropological fieldwork reduces ethnocentrism through problematizing and challenging the anthropologist’s own habitus in which the anthropologist reflects on own environmentally informed culture through observing and participating in another. It is through this process that the anthropologist begins to understand the facets of culture being studied, but also, through contrast, the structures that have formed his own worldview. Ethnocentrism refers to an individual viewing the world from an in-group perspective, and thus the in-group becomes the archetype against which other cultures are judged, and it is both a challenge and a stimulus to anthropology. It is challenging because each anthropologist brings to the field his or her own personal and biased view of the world, but it is stimulating because the anthropologist has embarked on an anthropological journey in order to overcome biases. Ethnocentrism becomes a problem the anthropologist must work through in order to provide a thorough analysis of a case study group.
Anthropologists use fieldwork like ethnography to understand the individual and social experience of others. Because cultures are formed through shared cultural knowledge, the anthropologist is in turn challenging his own perceptions and worldviews. Ethnographies serve to enhance understanding of a population, however if the anthropologist does not take care to not over-exoticize, he can induce a reader’s ethnocentrism. An anthropologist is most successful…

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