ethnography


ethnography

Descriptive study of a particular human society. Contemporary ethnography is based almost entirely on fieldwork. The ethnographer lives among the people who are the subject of study for a year or more, learning the local language and participating in everyday life while striving to maintain a degree of objective detachment. He or she usually cultivates close relationships with “informants” who can provide specific information on aspects of cultural life. While detailed written notes are the mainstay of fieldwork, ethnographers may also use tape recorders, cameras, or video recorders. Contemporary ethnographies have both influenced and been influenced by literary theory. See also Bronislaw Malinowski; cultural anthropology.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on ethnography, visit Britannica.com.

Seen & Heard

What made you look up ethnography? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.