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Ethnoscientific approach

by Expert Prof. Singh Rajan | 13 Apr 2017

Ethnoscientific approach to fieldwork means that the structure or the basis of knowledge that is being used to study or to analyze people as subject for anthropological studies is their culture. This means that behaviors, actions and characteristics of people are being evaluated through the use of their specific culture (Lucas).

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Culture is tagged as one of the ways that man can manifest his own method of living. It is how people structured to behave in particular ways in particular situations. Their culture has a very big impact on their way of living and dealing with other people and with their environment. Their reactions and responses could be explained by referring to their established culture.

In addition, culture really makes the study of anthropology holistic in a sense that it is the defining parameter in which anthropologists base their observations and analysis. By appealing to culture, anthropologists can really extract the nature of particular behavior of people and have an access to analyze the historical background of such behavior.

The emic and the etic approaches could really be employed in studying culture. Nevertheless, it is most important that their distinctions should be made clear at this point. The emic approach refers to the system in which the focus of the study is on the intrinsic and inherent cultural differences that are exclusively meaningful to the people themselves. On the contrary, etic approach refers to the system in which the focus is on the extrinsic cultural differences that are known and established by the scientists (Professor James Lett's Faculty WebPage).

This distinction suggests that there are two ways which can be used to employ the ethnoscientific approach to fieldwork. Emic and etic approaches can be used as bases for analysis as well as sources of information and as standards of gathering and explaining the behavior, responses and activities of people (Professor James Lett's Faculty WebPage).

Works Cited:

  • Lucas, Gavin. Critical Approaches to Fieldwork. Routledge, 2000.
  • "Professor James Lett's Faculty WebPage." 1996. Emic/Etic Distinctions.
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