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Importance of the Sex of the Anthropologist of Ethnography

Uploaded by ihatesuchin on Jul 05, 2004

[i:d763929e91]What importance may the sex of the anthropologist have on the ethnographic process?[/i:d763929e91]

There are many factors which can influence the ethnographic process for an anthropologist, and a very important one is his/her sex. This essay will examine the different attitudes towards sex, the problems that face all ethnographers when they embark on fieldwork in a different environment to their own, as well as the problems and benefits which can arise due to the sex of an anthropologist.

In order to produce a written work about a certain culture or society (an ethnography, anthropologists must embark on what is known as the ethnographic process". This term refers to all of the various activities and research methods which the anthropologist must undertake if he/she wants to obtain a profound and objective understanding of the culture being studied. This process can involve the method of participant observation, which is the long-term, extreme interaction with a community and involves the inclusion of the anthropologist in the day-to-day life of the society, including the attendance of the anthropologist at rituals, ceremonies etc.. The ethnographic process also involves the anthropologist expressing the feelings that he/she has experienced during the course of the fieldwork, and the relations which they might have built with certain members of the community so that the readers of the ethnography can have a deeper understanding of the culture being studied.
However, the above mentioned factors can easily be affected by the sex of the anthropologist. The word sex refers to the biological category into which a person is born; either male or female" but although the term refers only to the physical appearance of a person, the extremely diverse biological and psychological differences between the two sexes have led to there being a male-female a division and a "gender hierarchy" existing in virtually all societies. This can bring about both benefits and problems to the anthropologist, and this is what will be examined in this essay.

When conducting fieldwork in a different environment, there are many problems which all anthropologists encounter, and learn to overcome, despite their sex. The first problem, which often occurs as soon as the anthropologist arrives in their area of study, is culture shock. The anthropologist must learn to adapt him/herself to such basic things as sleeping, bathing, eating, and in most cases, adjusting to the loneliness and lack of privacy which he/she is certain to encounter. Some anthropologists learn that...

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Uploaded by:   ihatesuchin

Date:   07/05/2004

Category:   Anthropology

Length:   5 pages (1,053 words)

Views:   5740

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