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Culture Essay

  • Submitted by: thawardasa
  • on April 15, 2015
  • Category: English
  • Length: 1,523 words

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Below is an essay on "Culture" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

When you look at cultures from the exterior you get a very generalized view of what the culture is really about.   Stereotypes and ethnocentrism can cause an unintentional, or even intentional biased view in what you see that doesn’t accurately let you see the intricate details of a culture. Cultural anthropologists, when conducting ethnographic fieldwork for their ethnographies such as Anne Fadiman and Keith Basso for The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down and Wisdom Sits in Places, manage to reveal the details of a culture which were previously hidden by building rapport and getting information through interviewing as cultural, and then expressing their findings through thick description.
Ethnographic fieldwork is obviously vital in uncovering the secret, complex details of a culture. In certain situations, participant observation is also necessary, but only if it is done correctly. As we discussed in class, people often act differently than they usually do when they are being observed by anthropologists. Anthropologists need to find a way to watch a culture and experience the way they appear naturally – as if nothing was being observed and no additional variables were in place. Building rapport and appearing as a member of the culture is a great way to accomplish this. Keith Basso in his fieldwork for Wisdom Sits in Places did a brilliant job with this. Specifically, he uncovered secrets by asking good, informative questions. Considering Basso was doing a good thing for the Apaches, creating a much-needed map that would simplify and streamline navigation for themselves and others, the Apaches were willing to help out and explain to Basso what exactly was going on with place names in the Apache culture when at first the concept probably almost seemed too foreign to even get a grasp of.
Basso explained in the preface exactly how he was going to get the information he needed, in three semi-related steps: 1) traveling with Apache consultants, 2) talking with...

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