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.
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