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see anthropologyanthropology,
classification and analysis of humans and their society, descriptively, culturally, historically, and physically. Its unique contribution to studying the bonds of human social relations has been the distinctive concept of culture.
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; ethnologyethnology
, scientific study of the origin and functioning of human cultures. It is usually considered one of the major branches of cultural anthropology, the other two being anthropological archaeology and anthropological linguistics. In the 19th cent.
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the direct observation of an organization or small society, and the written description produced. Often the method of observation involves PARTICIPANT OBSERVATION. The ethnographic method (sometimes also referred to as FIELDWORK) is a basic method in SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY, It is also a method used in some areas of sociology, e.g. COMMUNITY STUDIES. Usually a researcher gathers data by living and working in the society or social setting being researched, seeking to immerse himself or herself as fully as possible in the activities under observation, but at the same time keeping careful records of these activities.

In anthropology, an emphasis on the importance of the ethnographic method was initially associated with the functionalist school, which encouraged an analysis of the internal structure and function of single societies rather than historical or comparative studies (see FUNCTIONALISM). However, there is no inherent reason why ethnographic and comparative approaches should not be seen as complementary or why ethnography should simply be associated with one theoretical school.

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000


The branch of ethnology that deals with the description of races or ethnic groups, without attempting to analyze or compare them.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The furthest northwards along the New Guinea mainland coast D'Entrecasteaux obsidian has been archaeologically identified to date is Collingwood Bay, which is also the ethnographically documented approximate limit of distribution.
Brown says, would be a worthwhile endeavor if it was done with a historically and ethnographically correct script which fairly addressed the complexties of Plains Indian life in the second half of the 19th century.
Ethnographically rich and detailed, this book foregrounds the human stories, both immigrant and non-immigrant, that often get lost behind polarizing rhetoric about undocumented migration.
Carlson demonstrates that documents still matter in the understanding the Aboriginal past when critically examined ethnographically and historiographically.
While Monica's drawings of material culture are painstakingly precise and ethnographically accurate, her portraits of people are, as Michaela Haug writes in her review in Anthropos, emotional and sensitive.
The Old Man reminds us, too, of the ritualistic or cultish element to Siena's patterns; the microcosmic structure of his designs invokes an ethnographically wide range of imagery denoting belief systems and meditative models.
Steering clear of more familiar questions relating to Christian ethics and doctrine, the book's contributors ethnographically chart a territory in which conversion appears as a predominantly somatic phenomenon, a transformational process that reverberates in both individual and social bodies.
He adopts a dynamic, ethnographically based approach to the meanings of 'modernness' in the Arab context and, within a relational framework, focuses on structures of thought, everydayness and self-referentiality to explore the process of building a bridge that rejoins the 'modern' in Arab thought with the 'modern' in Arab lived experience.
One important exception was Jaap Kunst's collecting expeditions between 1915 and 1947 to the island of Terschelling, an area of interest ethnographically for its distinctive Friesian dialect, where Kunst (1891-1960) first encountered folk song in the summer of 1913.
Finding Dahshaa contains fascinating, ethnographically rich descriptions and analysis of formal negotiations for aboriginal self-government in the Northwest Territories.
(It should be noted that in most ethnographically documented cultures, mushrooms and other hallucinogenic substances were considered the catalyst, not the source, of the shaman's visions; instead, it was believed that they merely made the visions possible by opening communication with the Other World.) To have a mushroom-headed figure emerging from a drum which is actually a rattle is an indication of the relationship between music, the shaman's visions, and the need to see beyond superficial appearances.