Social Anthropology Essay

Topics: Sociology, Anthropology, Participant observation Pages: 2 (404 words) Published: June 16, 2013
The difficult task of anthropologists
Social and cultural anthropology is the comparative study of culture and human societies. Anthropologists seek an understanding of human kind in all its diversity. This understanding is reached through the study of societies and cultures and the exploration of the general principlesof social andcultural life. Social and cultural anthropology places special emphasis on comparative perspectives that challenge cultural assumptions. Many anthropologists explore problems and issues associated with the complexity of modern societies in local, regional and global contexts. Participant observation is one type of data collection method, its aim is to gain a close and intimate familiarity with a given group of individuals and their habits through an intensive involvement with people in their cultural environment, usually over an extended period of time. The term ethnography has come to be equated with virtually any qualitative research project where the intent is to provide a detailed, in-depth description of everyday life and practice. The relationship between P.O. and the ethnography is that, in order to write the ethnography, we get information using P.O. The importance of fieldwork is that the data the anthropologist gathers is more valuable because is first hand information. However, the armchair anthropology is based on books and reaserch papers written by anthropologists that have done prior studies. There are some advantages and disadvantages of fieldwork, which i will mention: The main advantage would be that the anthropologist can stablish a good relationship with the people being observered, that leads to a more honest information, and you may tell when people are lying or hiding something. Another important advatage to point out is that you learn how to formulate right questions. The most important disadvantage is that the person doing the research may be bias to the person who is being...
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