The Role Of Ethnography On Foreign Cultures Essay

1363 Words Sep 16th, 2016 6 Pages
Ethnography is one of several unique methods of studying culture, in which anthropologists analyze a culture’s intricacies. Likewise, ethnography refers to the approach an anthropologist takes when writing about a culture (Lassiter, 71). The development of ethnography is attributed to British anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski. Malinowski was an advocate for participant-observation, in which the ethnographer immerses themselves into the culture for a long period of time, in the hopes of gaining an insider’s perspective. Participant-observation has several stages, and a few notable studies have been completed with this method. While participant-observation has both strengths and weaknesses, it is a valuable tool for ethnographers who conduct studies on foreign cultures. As defined by Luke Eric Lassiter, participant-observation is “the systematic approach involving long-term participation, observing, taking field notes, and interviewing the natives of a particular society, community, or group” (Lassiter, 79). First hand experience is essential in order to understand culture. Ethnographer Melinda Bollar Wagner wrote that participant-observation is separated into four stages, which may or may not overlap at times. Wagner referred to these stages as: making entrée, culture shock, establishing rapport, and understanding the culture (Lassiter, 80). At its core, making entrée is the process of getting introduced to the culture, often through consultants. Consultants are people…

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