January 28, 2006

Adventures in Ethnography, Pt. 1

I've been having to read a lot of articles about fieldwork experiences as part of my qualitative methods course, this term, and have found myself thoroughly amused by some of the quotes I've found. For example, from Malinowski, widely regarded as one of the founders of modern ethnography, because of his work with the Trobriand islanders:

"I shudder at the thought of copulating with her" (as cited in Gallagher 1967:25).

Well stop thinking about it then, you big perv!

I also really, really enjoyed this, from William Shaffir, who has made a living studying Orthodox Jews:

"Walking closer to the synagogue, I saw a room filled with some forty teenage boys; they all had flowing earlocks and were dressed in long black coats, black trousers, white shirts, and black hats. . . . It took me but a moment to recognize how uncomfortable I would feel standing among them dressed in white jeans and a multi-coloured sports jacket" (Shaffir 1985).

White jeans and a multi-coloured sports jacket?!?! Mate, never mind the Chassidim, you will feel like a tit dressed like Don Johnson among pretty much anybody. Stop blaming the Jews for everything!

Oh, man, wow. I should save some of this gold for improv.


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