Tags: culture shock

Notes on Schutz & Narayan

approaching groups as the stranger: the experience of the ethnographyer/strangers vs the experiences of the social group member. social group members view the world & events in stratified system of significance w/ each level requiring a different degree of knowledge. researcher seeks explicit knowledge of social groups. member of groups has fragmented, partial & incoherent knowledge of social groups. member of social group rarely requires/wants detailed explicit info about how social structure works/is structured. this basic, partial, incoherent, knowledged is used by member as cultural recipes on how to react/deal w/ specific events.

"thinking as usual" is possible if: predictability of social life remains intact & past experience can be guide for future; social recipes can be passed from generation to generation; only a certain amount of knowledge about specific social workings is sufficient; and the above are accepted & applied by other members of social group

stranger to group doesn't share in the assumptions of the member who "thinks as usual." to the researcher/stranger the cultural system of knowledge has not been tested by time/experience; the strangers questions what is unquestionable to the member.

history & tradition of cultural system: histories become imbedded in members' biographies & form bases of cultural system's authority.

stranger to social group will interpret the group's cultural system thru the lens of his own experience & home-system. over time, the social group's system becomes part of the stranger's field of reference. it may never fully replace the home-system, but the stranger's system of knowledge & relevance (culture) changes significantly.

strangers bring assumptions about foreign gorups & surroundings to the field. stranger is unable to adequately use foreign cultural pattern to navigate the social group b/c he can't orient himself w/in the group. members know that the system of orientation exists & their place w/in it and so can use the cultural system to navigate their world. b/c of this, stranger cannot orient his world around himself which disrupts his systems of knowledge & relevance - culture shock.

for members, cultural system provides means of expression & interpretation of actions. for the stanger, the cultural system of the social groups lacks this unity & organization. stranger "translates" foreign cultural system using his home-system, if possible. to understand the expressive function of cultural pattern, stranger must first acquire sufficient knowledge on the cultural pattern's interpretive function - passive understanding vs active mastering.


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questioning the "native" anthropologist; "foreign" anthropologist - studying others; "native" anthropologist - studying own culture

authenticity & native-ness.

"native" vs "non-native" categories as dynamic, shifting categories.

native vs "real" anthropologist - legacy of anth's colonial beginnings; assumption that "native" anthropologist have better or will have an easier time at understanding group's culture. exploiting the "native" anthropologist for research.

anthropology as dominated by western, former colonizers.

other's control over the anthropologist's own identity; the anthropologist's constantly shifting social positions/alignments during FW;