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Anthropology at Home and Abroad - Research Paper Example

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This article “Anthropology at Home and Abroad” is dedicated to the analysis of strengths and weaknesses in anthropological research conducted by domestic or foreign experts. Malinowski and Suad Joseph’s studies proved: inclusion in the studied culture helps to better interpret the studied material…
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Anthropology at Home and Abroad
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Download file to see previous pages Malinowski emphasized specific methods while training his students such as encouraging “participant observation”, spending a long time in the field, for a year or more, and the importance of learning the native language of the people being studied. After implementing the methods in the fieldwork the writing part emerges, which is the so-called “ethnography”, the raw material of the anthropologist and the evidence of his work in studying the “others”. The question is where and who the anthropologist chooses to do his/her fieldwork, whether at home, abroad or both. Responses to this argument will be discussed in this essay.   
Curiosity is part of human nature. A desire to discover the unknown has created anthropologists who had to take a risk in mingling with totally different people than those they had been exposed to, their adventurer spirit making them stay and note down every single move of the “others”. This basic human nature forced the anthropologists to go out and explore different people. So-called primitive, savage and simple people captured the interest of anthropologists in the early stages of the discipline. Later on a problem aroused a heated debate among anthropologists trying to deal with the rapid changing of societies and their political situation, making them wonder, are the methods and theories of studying the “others” going to still be the same or must change, and if they must change to adopt new circumstances, which tools should be used to cope with this development?
In the first two decades of the 20th century, British Anthropology had to have a cautious and skeptical attitude to any extraneous theoretical formulation, evolutionist or diffusionist (Kuper 1996: 4). Malinowski the leader of functionalist revolution and the pioneer in formulating new methods spent a major time in oral tradition confrontations debating with Elliot Smith and Perry in public of professional and non-professional audience and all these anthropologists including Robert Ardrey and Desmond Morris were spending good deal of time debating with the modern social anthropologist of that time in 1920s (Ibid.1, 5). The so-called 'Survey work' and 'intensive work' by Rivers was one of the heated debates, advantages and disadvantages of these methods were raised among anthropologists. the lack of funds, trained workers and professional work led to spending fewer days in the exotic areas than it should be, which made the 'survey work' is the suitable solution to gather compact information to classify problems requiring investigation. This technique was supported by River and Seligman and was best shown in their studies (Ibid.5, 7). According to Davies in 2008, a social survey can be very useful if properly employed when taking into account quantification and categorization issues. It helps to understand the results more easily. Furthermore, it develops categories which aid forming conclusions regarding sub-categories. The results complement intensive ethnographic investigation. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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