Comparative Methods Assignment
Anth 1100: Social and cultural Anthropology (S10)
Dr. Jennifer Shaw
June 4, 2018
Anthropologists conduct ethnographic research to analyze the lives of individuals living in an extensive range of situations. In ethnographies “Ancestral Lines” by Cultural Anthropologist John Barker (2016) and “Addicted. Pregnant. Poor” by Medical Anthropologist Kelly Ray Knight (2015) both authors reveal the interconnectedness of subsistence, concepts of time, and involvement of international organizations in influencing the lives of the Maisin people of Uaiku, Papa New Guinea and the women of the daily-rent hotels of mission district, san Francisco. (Knight, 2015)
John Barker (PhD, British Columbia, 1985) is a socio-cultural anthropologist. Professor and Department head of Anthropology at University of British Columbia. His research shows interest in the crossing of “local and global religion... anthropology of art, and the impact of international environmental organizations upon indigenous people”.(ubc.ca). Using a combination of methods Barker (2016) explores the entirety of the Maisin culture. His research is inductive, describing human behaviour in the context in which it occurs in the Maisin people of Uaiku, Papa New Guinea.
Kelly Ray Knight (PhD, San Francisco, 2010) is a medical anthropologist. An associate Professor in the department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine. Knight has interest in the lives of addicts in their social setting (profiles.ucsf.edu). Knight critics social policy, how poor addicted women are perceived by viewers and dealt with by the US government. Knights long history as a public health researcher influenced choosing the location of mission street, san Francisco as her field site. (Dahsm.ucsf.edu profiles.ucsf.edu)
Methods used in conducting ethnographic fieldwork are of crucial importance. It helps provide an in-depth description of one group of people to another. Understanding another person’s
beliefs and behaviours from their own perspective “upholds the guiding philosophy of modern anthropology; cultural relativism.” (perspectives, the culture concept, p7). John Barker (2016) believes ethnographic research is “intimate and slow” (p. 12) and requires the anthropologist to not only learn through investigation and questions but by “getting involved directly” (p5). During 6 visits spanning across 30 years, Barker took to Uaiku, Papa New Guinea and engaged in participant observation by fully immersing himself into ongoing activities in the Maisin society. For example, partaking in “making tapa cloth…and attending church services” (p13). Barker achieved an emic perspective of life in Uaiku. Through interviews and conversations, he devised census’s which provided him an overview of the social make-up of the village. This allowed him to narrow his understanding. Barker (2016) focuses on how people keep their sense of cultural identity, wh...