Ethnography Book Report/Review

Book Report/Review
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Before understanding the influence of an anthropologist's personal background and subjective experience in fieldwork on his/her ethnographic writing, let us discuss the meaning of ethnography and its technique. The research method of studying intensively a small social collectivity over a period of time by joining it and participating in its activities is known as ethnography or field research.


Researcher uses scientific method in anthropological studies, that is, one requires taking a detached, impersonal and dispassionate view towards the phenomena being studied. Objectivity exists when an observation is uninfluenced by one's personal biases, prejudices, beliefs or values. Social scientists are committed to investigating, analyzing, and describing what is, not what they think should be. However, when one begins to consider oneself, one's friends, one's entire style of life etc. objectivity becomes increasingly difficult to achieve. Studies have indicated that there is a definite tendency of people to see what they want to see or what they expect to see, or what they have been conditioned to see within their cultural context.
Here we should be clear that value-judgement and value-interpretation are two different perspectives. As social scientists, anthropologists should avoid making ad hoc, personal value-judgments on social phenomena. The point of value-interpretation is to establish the values towards which an activity is directed; it is not to judge such activities as either good or bad.
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