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The Forest People Essay

942 words - 4 pages

Participant observation is defined as first hand experience. Participant observation is a method developed by Anthropologists in the early 20th century. When Anthropologists noticed that in order to fully understand the question, “Why” in culture. Why do a certain people do this, why is that important, or why do they all do it, are just some of the questions anthropologists use participant observation. The key to participant observation is fieldwork, where the anthropologist actively lives with the people of the culture they are studying for about a year or more. Where the anthropologist goes through culture shock by leaving all their possessions at home and starting a new. This technique of ...view middle of the document...

Hadn’t anthropologist used this method the simplicity of a collective society would have been a foreign concept to everyone. All things any citizen would see and think, these people must be nuts, why help each other what personal gain is there. Turnbull through participant observation learned all these rituals and came back to what we think is civilization and taught us all about his journey.
Participant observation is by far the most effective way an anthropologist can use to learn about new cultures. Someone can only learn so much an individual can learn from books but if one truly wants to learn being a part of it is truly the only way. Participant observation has laid the foundation of applied anthropology, because the anthropologist now having learned about a new society can apply and opinionate in his own to improve their society. Based on the observations and methods learned from the other cultures.

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What truly makes a culture is the meaning created out of their experiences or constructs, their own concept of reality through the use of shared cultural symbols. All cultures have their own ceremony or myths where to a stranger it seems unbelievable or odd. A culture's unique combination of cultural symbols and their meanings creates meaning for the individual, which in turn prompts that individual to react in culturally specific ways to symbolic behavior and communication. These beliefs are what a makes distinctions between one culture to the other. Not everything in a culture is concrete, where one can guess what an items representation is. Just because a mask is just a mask to one to another it can be the ancestral...

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