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Anthro

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Dr. Brook
Anthropology
5 March 2012

Midterm 1

Espinal 1
Part A (2)
Participant observation, for many years, has been a hallmark anthropological study. In recent years, the field of education has seen an increase in the number of qualitative studies that include participant observation as a way to collect information. Qualitative methods of data collection, such as interviewing, observation, and document analysis, have been included under the umbrella term of "ethnographic methods" in recent years Aspects of observation discussed herein include various definitions of participant observation, some history of its use, the purposes for which such observation is used, the stances or roles of the observer, and additional information about when, what, and how to observe
It is also a structured type of research strategy. It is a widely used methodology in many disciplines, particularly, cultural anthropology. Its aim is to gain a close and intimate familiarity with a given group of individuals (such cultural group, or a particular community) and their practices through an intensive involvement with people in their natural environment, usually over an extended period of time.
Observation methods are useful to anthropologists in a variety of ways. They provide researchers with ways to check for nonverbal expression of feelings, determine who interacts with whom, grasp how participants communicate with each other, and check for how much time is spent on various activities. Participant observation allows researchers to check definitions of terms that participants use in interviews, observe events that informants may be unable or unwilling to share Espinal 2 when doing so would be impolitic, impolite, or insensitive, and observe situations informants have described in interviews, thereby making them aware of distortions or inaccuracies in description provided by those informants.
They suggest that participant observation be used as a way to increase the validity of the study, as observations may help the researcher have a better understanding of the context and phenomenon under study. Therefore participant observation is used to help the researcher get the feel for how things are organized and prioritized, how people interrelate, and what are the cultural parameters; to show the researcher what the cultural members deem to be important in manners, leadership, politics, social interaction, and taboos; to help the researcher become known to the cultural members, thereby easing facilitation of the research process; and to provide the researcher with a source of questions to be addressed with participants
The word "informant" is an anthropological concept, a common term for people one meets in the field and gets information from. They are important because since the goal of fieldwork is to obtain information, it is self-evident that the "informants" must have a central place in anthropology. The concept arose in an era when anthropologists mostly studied distant tribal peoples, with little contact with the Western world, and few opportunities to influence or respond to the written work of anthropologists. As soon as fieldwork was over, the "informants" became Espinal 3 silent, and so it was easy to think of them as passive objects of anthropological study, rather than as active participants in the research process. Anthropologists make a long-term commitment when doing fieldwork in another society. The fieldwork usually involves spending a year or more in another society, living with different people and learning about their ways of life. It is a long process because anthropologist needs to study that specific society and gather information. They must also adapt to the way they live, a process that does not happen over night. here are various levels of participation for a researcher in an ethnographic study; this can span the range from fully becoming part of a specific group and participating in its day-to-day life, to taking a more hands-off role as researcher/observer.
Participation is often encouraged in ethnography, since it is considered the best way for the researcher to not only collect data, but also gain an "insider" understanding of the subjects' experiences. For anthropologists, the goal is to gain the point of view of the subject, rather than retain the point of view of an outsider. Ethnography is considered a qualitative research method. The goal of qualitative research is to gain depth of knowledge of a subject. For instance, an ethnographer will collect information about the daily experiences, including rituals, celebrations and social interactions of a group of people. The researcher focuses on a small group and the collection of data is usually informal. Ethnography research rarely uses statistical data analysis, but more often relies on interpretation of data, and involves reviewing the verbal descriptions and explanations of what was observed. This is Espinal 5 why it is very important and useful.
Participant observation has helped the Turnbull figure out about significant aspects of the culture of the Pygmies. Cooperation and sharing are fundamental to their lives, their relationship to the forest shapes all their experiences, there are no leaders and no social classes, there is no private ownership of the land, no inheritance of it from parents to children. Thus, at birth, all children begin equal. None of them own any land or other major property and all can learn whatever they wish from any adult in the group. Thus, there is equality, but not sameness - each Mbuti is very much a distinct individual. There is communal raising of children. There are no courts, police, and government, and the community as a whole gets involved in settling disputes. Women and men have equal status, according to Turnbull. The Pygmies are not perfect, by any means. But they live in relative harmony with their world, have close social relationships, and have no major social problems. They find security and they value people, family, the forest, community, sharing - not material possessions. As described in The Forest People, the molimo is the most powerful and prominent experience of Mbuti life. Turnbull first hears the molimo during his 1954 visit, while the Mbuti are in the village (and presumably without villagers around). In the book, he says: "It was a deep, gentle, lowing sound, sometimes breaking off into a quiet falsetto, sometimes growling like a leopard. As the men sang their songs of praise to the forest, the molimo [here meaning the instrument] answered them, Espinal 6 first on this side, then on that, moving around so swiftly and silently that it seemed to be everywhere at once... the sound was sad and wistful, and immensely beautiful" (pp. 24-25). When Turnbull returns in 1957, he is eager to hear the molimo again, and to see it for the first time. He gets the opportunity when the Mbuti leave the village for a forest camp, there to hold a molimo for Balekimito, a beloved old woman who has just died. The Mbuti hold the molimo to celebrate her life and pay homage to the forest. Turnbull goes with them to this forest camp, and joins the men in their night sessions of singing, dancing, and eating. In chapters 4 and 5 of The Forest People, he describes these sessions and their meaning. "Every day, around midday, a couple of youths would go around the camp ... collecting offerings of food and firewood from hut to hut, for the molimo concerns everyone, and everyone must contribute. And each evening the women and children shut themselves up in their huts after the evening meal, for the molimo is mainly the concern of the men. And when the women have retired the men sit around the kumamolimo - the hearth of the molimo - and gaze into the molimo fire. Nearby a basket hangs, full of the offerings of food that will be eaten later. But first the men must sing, for this is the real work of the molimo, as the say; to eat and to sing, to eat and to sing" (p. 80). (For me, and probably for most readers, Turnbull's description and discussion of the molimo are the center and essence of The Forest People, and of the Mbuti people. Turnbull loosely translates one of their songs: "There is darkness all around us; but if Espinal 7 darkness is, and the darkness is of the forest, then the darkness must be good" (p. 93). The molimo celebrations bring the Mbuti closer to the forest, their father and mother. Turnbull thinks that the molimo binds them together, it counteracts forces that divide them. Elima is the Bantu word for female coming of age marked by the first appearance of menstrual blood. . Unlike the nkumbi, both villagers and Pygmies carry out the elima activities separately, and their attitudes towards this important even in a young woman’s life are completely different. There is a period of seclusion but it is one of happy preparation, and the girl takes her friends with her, including those who have not reached maturity and some who have. In this “elima house,” a respected older relative gives motherhood lessons, including adult women’s song. Pygmies come to visit from near and far, including interested young men, who stay outside the house but take part in special elima songs. In all, elima is one of the happiest occasions for a Pygmy tribe. The Forest People describes puberty initiation ceremonies for girls and boys. The elima is "the festival celebrating the puberty of girls" (The Forest People, p. 285). The nkumbi is the villager initiation of boys, to which the Mbuti choose to send their sons, or are forced to, or some combination of the two. It is primarily an nkumbi that Turnbull observes in his 1954 visit. For the villagers, this ceremony not only marks the passage from boyhood to manhood, but also maintains their connection with the dead, as only initiation will join the ancestors when they die. The villagers put out considerable expense and effort to Espinal 8 ensure that the Pygmy boys are initiated along with their own. For the villagers, this helps maintain their dominance over the Pygmies since they believe that the ritual “binds” the Pygmy initiate to the village throughout his life and even after death. The elima account benefits greatly from Anne Putnam's living in the elima house with the girls, and providing Turnbull with notes and oral observations. Therefore, this method is very useful.
Part B (2)
Cultural Anthropology Questions:
What is culture?
How is it learned?
How is it shared? How is it patterned?
How is it adaptive?
How is it symbolic?
How does culture shape and reflect the organization of societies?
How are cultures integrated?
How are cultures and peoples represented in a global context?
To answer each question, Anthropologists employ fieldwork and comparative, or cross-cultural, methods to study various cultures. Ethnographies may be produced from intensive study of another culture, usually involving protracted periods of living among a group. Ethnographic fieldwork generally involves the investigator assuming the role of participant-observer: gathering data by conversing and interacting with people in a natural manner and by observing people's behavior unobstrusively. Ethnologies use specialized monographs in order to draw comparisons among various cultures.

Espinal 9
Physical Anthropology Questions:
How and why do humans vary biologically, both individually and by group?
What are the patterns of biological variation, adaptation, life history and development?
What is the source and evolutionary history of these differences at the molecular level?
What is the interplay between ecology, genetics, and behavior, as well as structure and function among our closest relatives, the other primates?
What can we learn from the fossil record about the evolutionary history of our closest relatives as well as ourselves?
What can we learn about our recent history and the spread of populations, through the analysis of genetics, forensics and cultural remains?

Physical anthropology is concerned with the biological aspects of human beings. In trying to learn about racial differences, human origins, and evolution, the physical anthropologist studies fossil remains and observes the behavior of other primates. This is how they go about in solving thee questions.
These questions are important to answer for several reasons. We must know and understand other cultures and the people in it. It is important to know how they play a role in our society and how they are viewed. Not only knowing and understanding culture is important but also knowing about humans and how we originated is also important. Knowing our place in nature is very important. The methods on discovering fossils and gathering information help answer the questions that us as a human race have. These are the main questions that are asked because they have the most meaning behind it. Espinal 10
The science of anthropology is divided into two major disciplines, physical anthropology and cultural anthropology. Cultural anthropology deals primarily with the growth of human societies in the world. It is a study of group behavior, the origins of religion, social customs and conventions, technical developments, and family relationships. A major subfield of cultural anthropology is linguistics, the study of the history and structure of language. Linguistics is a valuable tool of the anthropologist because it enables him to observe a people's system of communication and to learn the ideas by which they view the world. It also enables him to collect an oral history of the group being studied. Oral histories are constructed from a society's poems, songs, myths, proverbs, and folk tales. It also studies the different cultures of humans and how those cultures are shaped or shape the world around them. They also focus a lot on the differences between every person. They examine the various ways in which learned techniques, values, and beliefs are transmitted from one generation to the next and acted upon in different situations.
The goal of a cultural anthropologist is to learn about another culture by collecting data about how the world economy and political practices effect the new culture that is being studied. Physical anthropology studies humans as a biological species, often through the study of and comparison with non-human primates.
Physical anthropologists study genetics and physiology in modern populations as well as in the fossil record in order to learn more about the processes Espinal 11 of human evolution and adaptation. They also study the observation, measurement, and explanation of human variability in time and space. This includes both biological variability and the study of cultural, or learned, behavior among contemporary human societies. These studies are closely allied with the fields of archeology and linguistics. Studies range from rigorously scientific approaches, such as research into the physiology, demography and ecology of hunter-gatherers, to more humanistic research on topics such as symbolism and ritual behavior.
Two other fields of study connect physical and cultural anthropology: archaeology and applied anthropology. In excavations, archaeologists find the remains of ancient buildings, tools, pottery, and other artifacts by which a past culture may be dated and described. They differentiate by what is done in each field of work. Physical anthropology is generally classified as a natural science, while cultural anthropology is considered a social science.

Work Cited Espinal 12
Grinker, Roy Richard. 1994. Houses in the Rainforest. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Turnbull, Colin M. 1961. The Forest People. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Turnbull, Colin M. 1983. The Mbuti Pygmies: Change and Adaptation. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace.
Turnbull, Colin. "FOREST PEOPLE, THE: A STUDY OF THE PYGMIES OF THE CONGO". Research-Assistance. N.p. n.d. Web. 26 Feb 2012. .

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Anthro 150

...Anthro 150 Extra Credit Assignment Archeological and anthropological data and theories have supported the idea that all human societies have developed along a universal “evolutionary” trajectory. Human societies started as small and egalitarian, then transitioned to large and socially complex. This evolution from “foragers” to “states” has paved the way for various theories about the progression of the human race. In Yoffee’s article, “Too Many Chiefs?” he discussed the idea of neo-evolutionism. He describes neo-evolutionism as being a stepladder model of bands turning into tribes, then chiefdoms, and finally states (Yoffee 1993). This model has been used for the past three decades, and has helped archeologists research the early states. Despite its benefits when investigating the rise of early states, this model has been rejected and critiqued by many people. Some anthropologists reject this theory due to their inability to see evolution on one trajectory. Those who reject neo-evolutionism allow for more informative theories of social change and evolution. The idea that all human societies develop along a universal “evolutionary” trajectory can be proved using a new social evolutionary theory discussed in Yoffee’s article, “Too Many Cheifs?” Yoffee breaks down the key components of the new social evolutionary theory and relates them to neoevolutionism. He shows that while taking the idea of a trajectory into account, the new social evolutionary theory does not rest......

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