The study of popular culture in anthropology

American "cultural anthropologists" focused on the ways people expressed their view of themselves and their world, especially in symbolic forms, such as art and myths.

European "social anthropologists" focused on observed social behaviors and on "social structure", that is, on relationships among social roles for example, husband and wife, or parent and child and social institutions for example, religioneconomyand politics.

popular culture anthropology

Main article: Participant observation Participant observation is one of the principle research methods of cultural anthropology.

Should you have any questions about concepts we refer to or the anthropological discipline in general, feel free to comment. Anthropologists often integrate the perspectives of several of these areas into their research, teaching, and professional lives. One common criticism of participant observation is its lack of objectivity.

Nevertheless, many contemporary socio-cultural anthropologists have rejected earlier models of ethnography as treating local cultures as bounded and isolated. This allows the anthropologist to become better established in the community.

Today socio-cultural anthropologists attend to all these elements. For more information about the field of folklore see the American Folklore Society. A central concern of anthropologists is the application of knowledge to the solution of human problems.

It relies on the assumption that the best way to understand a group of people is to interact with them closely over a long period of time.

The study of popular culture in anthropology

Because the study of people, past and present, requires respect for the diversity of individuals, cultures, societies, and knowledge systems, anthropologists are expected to adhere to a strong code of professional ethics. A typical ethnography will also include information about physical geography, climate and habitat. In addition, participant observation often requires permits from governments and research institutions in the area of study, and always needs some form of funding. It can also be helpful to know what previous research has been conducted in one's chosen location or on similar topics, and if the participant observation takes place in a location where the spoken language is not one the anthropologist is familiar with, he or she will usually also learn that language. Multi-sited ethnography may also follow ethnic groups in diaspora. This helps to standardize the method of study when ethnographic data is being compared across several groups or is needed to fulfill a specific purpose, such as research for a governmental policy decision. It is often contrasted with the printed word, yet the recent growth of the internet and digital communications has brought the realms of popular culture increasingly closer to folklore as well. This allows the anthropologist to become better established in the community. One common criticism of participant observation is its lack of objectivity. Learn more about anthropology To learn more about anthropology, have a look at the Readings and Ethnographic Material page. A combination of the two is often used, sometimes along with photography, mapping, artifact collection, and various other methods. However, these approaches have not generally been successful, and modern ethnographers often choose to include their personal experiences and possible biases in their writing instead. Typically, the anthropologist lives among people in another society for a period of time, simultaneously participating in and observing the social and cultural life of the group.
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Cultural anthropology