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Ethnography Reflection Response Essay

Since Ethnography is a broad area of study, a lot of data collection is involved. The various ways of data collection in ethnography are through interviews, observation and questionnaires. Ethnography mainly aims at describing, in written form, those things being studied (Heider 20). In the book ‘Mad Dogs, Englishmen, and the Errant Anthropologist (fieldwork in Malaysia)’, Douglas Raybeck the ethnographer had to learn the culture of the society.

He did this through fieldwork and observation as the major methods. For purposes of effectiveness and success in the study, he had to live in the society as an active participant and not merely as a simple observer. This enabled him to first be accepted in the society as a member and learn their language through creation of friendship. This however is never an easy task since one has to always go beyond his means to persevere with a lot of patience in order to obtain positive results (Raybeck 5).

The techniques used to collect information by the ethnographer had resemblance with those mentioned in the book ‘Thinking like an Anthropologist’ on the list beginning on page 71. The ethnographer first did participant observation, then went ahead to do some interviews.

The interviews done were both semi-structured and unstructured. Semi-structured meaning that it used open and closed questions covering the available study topics while unstructured meaning that it strictly used the open questions which encouraged some discussion between the interviewee and the interviewer.

The last technique used by Raybeck is collection of texts and artifacts used by the community in their daily activities. In addition to all the field work that Raybeck the ethnographer has done, he has supplemented it with other sources of information. The common one used is the secondary information source. This is whereby the ethnographer went ahead with research on the culture he is studying using books written by others on culture and the internet (Raybeck 30).

In the entire work, there are a lot of things involved before the ethnography is completed. This therefore does not favor any form of working without help from others. The ethnographer is helped in the collection of texts and artifacts from the vast societal land. He is also greatly helped in carrying out of his interviews. He also received some help especially in the distribution and collection of questionnaires and the mobilization of the entire community.

In the entire study carried out by Raybeck, one point that is evidently clear is the application of a lot of professionalism. The ethnographer chooses to take a scientific approach in the study of the community. The scientific approach is taken in the way the community is studied and the way it is reported.

Get your 100% original paper on any topic done in as little as 3 hours Learn More All these as earlier mentioned is done cautiously and with a lot of professionalism. The way the texts and artifacts collected are analyzed also reveals the fact that the study took a scientific way of approach. In his actual study, the ethnographer uses sampling as a means of selecting the place to carry out the fieldwork.

He skillfully does this making sure that the places picked in the sample makes a true representation of the entire area under study. This approach is taken because the study area is quite vast and therefore if the decision to study the entire area in detail is taken, then the study could take a very long period of time to come with a true and a conclusive report about the society under study.

Raybeck manages to enter into the society despite the new culture due to the entry approach he takes. The ethnographer first establishes a complete rapport with the members of the society creating bonds of friendship with them. With this, he manages to break the barriers of hostility which could have otherwise hindered him from carrying out the ethnography in the entire region. With no form of friendship, the ethnographer could have been treated with a lot of hostility and suspicion.

The people could have viewed him as one who wanted to rip apart their culture. He therefore presents himself so cautiously and friendly in a manner not to suggest any form of enmity since these could have hindered the study. With this, the ethnographer thus earns great respect in the eyes of the society members. He is therefore seen as a trustworthy person and it is for that reason that he is highly esteemed.

Raybeck appears to have acquired rapport at the point when he could interact with the society freely and they are very willing to teach him their culture beginning with their language. This is so because true rapport establishment is evidenced by the capability to create friendship. The evidence of the ethnographer’s impact on the communities is in the tendency of the community to resist the ethnography.

Their main fear is that of interference of their culture by the ethnographer. Since the ethnographer is from a different lifestyle and has taken time to stay among the people under study, definitely a mix of the two cultures must have caused some behavioral change among some people.

That’s the reason for the opposition received by the ethnographer. In response to the impacts, the ethnographer chooses to literally assume the open opposition and uses every opportunity available to carry out his study to the fullest. He therefore goes deeper beyond the level he had ever gone in his study. The ethnographer literally chooses to be part of the community in virtually all aspects. This has a great boost on his research work making it possible for him to be effective in the field.

We will write a custom Essay on Ethnography Reflection specifically for you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More The community on its own side also has some impact on the ethnographer (Raybeck). This is evidenced by the behavioral change on the part of the ethnography. He so becomes part of the community as a result of seeking acceptance that he starts adapting some of the local cultural issues.

The field worker at some point also seems to be suffering from some cultural shock. This is when he experiences some difficult with the language, friends, housing and the work in general. It also reaches some point where by the ethnographer starts missing home when in the new environment. However, despite all these, the ethnographer does not isolate himself from the larger society claiming to be suffering from culture shock.

He even does not build up any form of resentment against the host community. Seemingly, he has great understanding on how he could effectively manage culture shock. It is like he expected this to happen anyway. He tries his level best to adjust to the new culture by eating the kinds of food eaten though not hungry and even resting just at the normal times and not when he is completely tired (Raybeck 55).

There are also other aspects in the community life at large that Raybeck chooses to ignore and lacks access on others. For instance, he seems to lack access to core beliefs and traditions practiced by the community. He chooses to also ignore any manifestation of tribalism and any form of talk insinuating dislike or segregation to other ethnic communities. He also does not have access to the places highly esteemed by the cultural people, for instance, the shrines. The ethnographer also encounters some ethical issues.

These are particularly evident when some of the traditions of the community are practiced in the presence of the ethnographer and when some of the cultural practices by the community seem to contradict what is basically viewed as right or bad globally. However, this encounter of ethical issues does not limit the ethnographer from completing his study; what took him to the society.

There are also strengths and weaknesses of fieldwork discussed. A major strength that is illustrated about fieldwork is the emphasis on naturalism. It is also reliable since first hand information is outsourced directly from the community of study. The weaknesses portrayed are the facts that it is time consuming and laborious (Raybeck 105).

In the book ‘Thinking like an Anthropologist’, we find that different social groups did different things together. For instance, the parents are found laboring for their families. The children join them at the time when they are old enough. The youth who are most energetic are largely involved in the production work. However, most of the things in the society at large are done as a family. In the exchange of goods and services, it is observed that it tends to be channeled by kinship and debt relations.

For instance, a man may be expected to give more of his wool harvest to a parent or any other particular kinsman, or the temple priests, or his landlord compared to that of others. Those who are economically empowered tend to exercise more power that those who are economically weak. Collecting resources for village feast might be the sole responsibility of one leader, for example, and a successful feast increases that person’s power. Distribution can thus Influence political power.

Not sure if you can write a paper on Ethnography Reflection by yourself? We can help you for only $16.05 $11/page Learn More Looking at the religious beliefs verses economic activities, it is evident that religious beliefs may influence the economic activities practiced. For instance, a religious ceremony may require extra production of dress cloth, exchanges of livestock or only persons with certain religious credentials are allowed to make trade beaded belts (Omohundro 114).

The most impressive thing to me about the book ‘Mad Dogs, Englishmen, and the Errant Anthropologist (fieldwork in Malaysia)’, is the ability of someone to get out from a totally different cultural group into another cultural group, learn their way of life and be able to write about it with very minimal or no difficult at all.

The most upsetting thing I read in this book is the level of ethnocentrisms present in some communities. This disappointed me because however different we may be on cultural grounds, no one is superior to the other but we were all created with the same potential in life. I, in the course of reading, uncovered my own ethnocentrisms.

I discovered that when among a people who think that their culture is more important than the rest, I may tend to be also ethnocentric in the struggle of defending my own culture. On the part of the ethnographer together with his wife, I did not find any form of ethnocentrisms but on the part of the villagers, I did find some ethnocentrisms. This all manifested in the manner in which they acted concerning their cultures.

Works Cited Heider, Karl. Seeing Anthropology. London: Prentice Hall, 2001. Print.

Omohundro, John. Thinking like an Anthropologist. 1st ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007. Print.

Raybeck, Douglas. Mad Dogs, Englishmen, and the Errant Anthropologist: Fieldwork in Malaysia. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, 1996. Print.

Ronald Takaki’s “The Tempest in the Wilderness” Essay

Nursing Assignment Help The problem of racial identity remains vital in some parts of the world, even though people claim to live in the civilized racism free society. Thereby, if modern civilized people are unable to cope with racial prejudices, what we can say about England of Shakespeare times. Ronald Takaki tried to consider the problem of racial discrimination of Indians in one of his essays.

He used Shakespeare’s play The Tempest where the examples of treating Indians by English people are observed. Moreover, Ronald Takaki raises the problem that New England was formed in the conditions of constant discrimination supported with unreasonable stereotypes that gave raise to “the racialization of Indian savagery” (Takaki 907). Having read an essay by Takaki, the following words caught attention:

This process of dehumanizing the Indians developed a peculiarly New England dimension as the colonists associated Indians with the devil. Indian identity became then a matter of ‘descent’: their racial markers indicated ineradicable qualities of savagery. This social construction of race occurred within the economic context of competition over land (Takaki 907).

The information provided in the essay perfectly states that this was exactly as it was stated. Using The Tempest and other plays by Shakespeare, Ronald Takaki tried to show the examples of the attitude of the citizens of New England to Indians. The seizure of Indian property by English is seen.

To begin with, it should be mentioned that Ronald Takaki uses The Tempest by Shakespeare not by chance. This play was the first where Indian character was presented. Furthermore, the time when the play was written coincides with the important period in the history of America.

According to Takaki, the time he considers in the essay as the reference to Indian expansion was as follows, “it came after the English invasion if Ireland but before the colonization on New England, after John Smith’s arrival in Virginia but before the beginning of the tobacco economy, and after the first contacts with Indians but before full-scale warfare against them” (Takaki 893).

It is really important to consider the time period to understand why the author of the essay dwells upon racialization of savagery. This was the period when English expansionism considered “not only as an imperialism but as a defining moment in the making of an English-American identity based on race” (Takaki 893).

Get your 100% original paper on any topic done in as little as 3 hours Learn More The racialization of savagery was the consequence of mistaken understanding of the reality, wrong conclusions, and lack of desire to evaluate the situation correctly, as it is always easier to place the stereotype on other peoples than to consider their culture, search for specific information and create new opinion.

Ireland was a colony, and English people treated them accordingly. Even the law was cruel, marriages between Irish and English were not allowed, and English apparel and weapon were also forbidden for Irish. The social structure of the society became two-levelled. Irish people were considered as savages, as cultural awareness was one of the main features which made English different from Irish.

Irish people deserved the definition ‘savages’ as in most cases they behaved accordingly. When the frontier stretched to America, Englishmen began to treat Indians the same as Irish. The parallel which was drawn was one of the main reasons to consider Indians savages, in spite of the fact that the actions of Indians differed from Irish ones.

Takaki refers to the example when the English wrongly considered Irish as only hunters (drawing a direct parallel between hunters and savages), in spite of the fact that they were good farmers (Takaki 906). Such examples are numerous and on their basis it is possible to build a theory that English colonizers did not care much about the real state of things. They have created a specific stereotype which was convenient for them that is why they did not want to ruin it.

Savagery and civilization are two notions which are constantly contrasted in the essay. Having created a wrong opinion that Indians were savages and hunters, the ability to work on the land was not considered as their common occupation, in spite of the fact that they used to be good farmers.

Having passed the law that only those people who use land can possess it, the problem of giving land to Indians has fallen down as “Indians are not able to make use of the one fourth part of the Land”(Takaki 907) according to the opinion of the English. If to consider the problem of land possession as the central one, it may be easily concluded that the authorities tried to limit the number of those who could pretend for land possession.

The economic value of land that time was really high, and the division was considered to be extremely important for many people. The more land one possessed, the more power he/she had. It was obvious that uncivilized Indians which were uneducated could be easily treated. It was necessary to set all Americans against Indians to get the necessary effect. The declaration of all Indians’ religion as “diabolical and so uncouth” (Takaki 908) was a profitable step for colonizers.

We will write a custom Essay on Ronald Takaki’s “The Tempest in the Wilderness” specifically for you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More The cases of epidemic death of Indians may be considered at the actions provoked by the authorities to use the land which belonged to Indians. Still, this fact is difficult to imagine as according to the possessed information European diseases were new for Indians and the absence of immunological defences. This idea was used to make Indians more evil, to relate the case of epidemic case to God’s actions and make all people believe that Indians were as bad as were thought to be.

The problem with land and the desire of the authorities to use it in their own purposes led to the situation that many Englishmen became to consider Indians as devil tribes, always savage and violent. Now, this problem is considered to be racialization of savagery as thinking about the Indians, the native population of America, many Englishmen still consider those as savages and unable to become civilized, no matter how long they can live in the modern society.

The main problem considered in the article is the problem of stereotyping attitude to Indians and creation of wrong image with the purpose to benefit from this. Being Indians, the tribes were considered to be savages as there were no other variants, and as a result, Indians could not be civilized.

One of the main reasons for Indians to be savages was the parallel made between them and Irish. Irish deserved such definition by their actions, rude and violent, while Indians just appeared in the wrong place and the relation to Irish automatically transferred to Indians.

Works Cited Takaki, Ronald. “The tempest in the wilderness: The racialization of savagery.” The Journal of American History, 79.3: 892-912.

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