Eating Christmas in the Kalahari

906 WordsDec 11, 20054 Pages
The sources of cultural misunderstanding made by the anthropologists in the readings from Spradley and McCurdy are affected by many factors including naive realism, culture shock and fully understanding what is culturally and ethically appropriate. Naive realism is the belief that people see the world in the same way, and culture shock is a condition of confusion and feelings of loneliness and anxiety experienced by someone suddenly entering a new culture. "Eating Christmas in the Kalahari" by Richard Lee is a perfect example of naive realism. Lee thought that Christmas would be seen throughout the world in a similar manner. As Lee stated, individual who celebrate this holiday feel "Christmas is supposed to be the day of…show more content…
Anthropologists then, write ethnographies which are first hand detailed description of a living culture. Often anthropologists will find individuals within the society who are willing to become informants. Even though informants can be very helpfully, they often hold bias views about their culture. Some anthropologist must learn new and sometimes unwritten languages and this may require extra training. An anthropologist's class, race, gender, language, dress, religion, and age, all effect how he/she will be interpreted by the local people.(Cultural Anthropology pg31). Each step in anthropological research brings about dilemmas common to any human interaction, engagement versus detachment, subjectivity versus objectivity, particularization versus generalization, induction versus deduction(Fieldwork, Ethnography and Ethics in Anthropology). On many occasion's, the anthropologist will leave their projects, with a new found respect and begin to question their own cultures. For example Lila Abu Lughod, an anthropologist was accompanied by her father to Cairo for he knew and understood how a young unmarried woman would look within his culture. She would have been considered untrustworthy and living within a family where the males in her life have no concern for her well being. Sometimes as the researcher is familiarizing his/her self with the subjects, she may become acculturated and begin to see herself as a member of the group.
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