"The goal of this chapter is to flesh out some of the theoretical underpinnings of enthographic writing--writing that tries to understand what makes people or a culture unique or interesting, how they understand themselves--in order to help students put participation/observation research into a context beyond simply following directions. The chapter will also help you show students how to think about ethics while creating new knowledge. Your students will generate, collect, analyze, and synthesize material over the course of an enthnographic writing project that will enable them to fully work through a research and writing process."
"Ethnography involves studying a specific culture or community. By living among the members of a culture and playing the role of participant-observer, ethnographers attempt to define the beliefs, rituals, symbols, problems, and patterns of behavior that distinguish this culture from other dominant cultures."
"The athlete's gym, the women's club, the student government committee, the hair salon, the yoga class, the children's play group, the news room—all of these unique communities could provide fascinating sites for ethnographic analysis. "
"Anthropology also uses artifacts in order to describe a culture and its people. However, if we are researching a culture that we are able to observe, we are able not only to interpret the importance of an artifact, but also we are able to see how individuals interact with it. And so, even if you are not an archaeologist or an anthropologist, as long as you intend to study a particular culture you will want to identify objects that seem to be of daily importance to the group."
"Most cultures exhibit a particular configuration or style. A single value or pat- tern of perceiving the world often leaves its stamp on several institutions in the society. Examples are "machismo" in Spanish-influenced cultures, "face" in Japanese culture, and "pollution by females" in some highland New Guinea cultures. Here Horace Miner demonstrates that "attitudes about the body" have a pervasive influence on many institutions in Nacireman society."
"Gamma Phi Circus of Illinois State University is the oldest collegiate circus in the United States, and one of only two still in existence. Founded in 1926 by Clifford “Pop” Horton, a gymnastics instructor, it began as a small group of men performing human pyramids and tumbling at sporting events. By 1931, it was an actively performing college circus troupe. Now, with a rich, 82 year performance history, Gamma Phi has roughly 70 performers and holds highly attended performances every April, in conjunction with a rigorous year-round practice schedule."