Analyzing And Comparing Ethnographies English Literature Essay

Anthropology: Analyzing and comparison Ethnographies

Ethnography is a scientific construct that involves analyzing communities and human societal phenomena. Considered a subdivision of cultural anthropology, descriptive anthropology involves some signifier of fieldwork where the ethnographer lives among the population being studied. He tries to populate an ordinary life among the people, while seeking to work closely with sources who are good placed to roll up precise information. The procedure involves the survey of the societal organisation, civilization, faith, economic system, kinship ties and political organisation of such a community among other issues.

This paper evaluates the facet of matrimony and gender among the three groups depicted by Lee ( The Dobe Ju Hoansi ) , Weiner ( The Trobrianders of Papua New Guinea ) and Alan Beas ‘ Gopalpur: A south Indian Village. The survey will affect depicting the matrimony pattern among the three groups and spying the possible similarities and/or possible differences of matrimony across the three groups.

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Attempts will be made to demo the significance of matrimony in the lives of the several societal groups.

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Marriage and gender are some of the societal facets that determine to a big extend the societal organisation of any societal group. It is hard to retreat the “ pattern of matrimony ” from anthropology and ethnographic surveies because it determines how different people relate within a society. It besides impacts on other social issues such as heritage, belongings ownership and gender functions, merely to advert a few. Surely, Lee Richards, Weiner and Alan Beals could non get away this construct. Marriage patterns and gender can besides be used to grok the beliefs and values existent in the three groups. The Dobe Ju Hoansi people are depicted as huntsmans and gatherers populating in the Northwest portion of Kalahari Desert ( Lee 14 ; Friedl 128 ) . In his descriptive anthropology, Lee considers them to populate in “ comparative isolation ” from other folks and maintaining to their ain affinity systems and cultural patterns ( Lee 22 ; Lavender & A ; Emily, “ Kinship and Descent ” 153-165 ) . The descriptive characteristics of a groom among the Dobe Ju Hoansi are mostly determined by the manner of life of the community. Attempts are made to maximise the opportunities of endurance in the woods. A typical groom should be a good huntsman, unrelated/distantly related, no contending repute and from a congenial/friendly household that is willing to transport out the hxaro ( a signifier of traditional exchange mentioning to betrothal gifts ) . Negotiations are conducted before matrimony to guarantee that the other household is willing to execute this ritual. Failure of this leads to the arrest of the matrimony and a new hunt for a groom begins.

Harmonizing to Richard Lee, the most common and outstanding type of matrimony for the Dobe Ju Hoansi people is the “ matrimony by gaining control ” . Here matrimonies are foremost arranged by their parents ( Lee 77 ) . The parents hold authorization over their kids, including the discretion to do agreements for their kids ‘s first matrimonies without confer withing them. The first proposal is made by the groom’s-to-be female parent ( 78 ) . If the proposal is accepted, the game is sealed by exchange of the kamasi gifts. This does n’t nevertheless intend that matrimony is a determination that is wholly a determination of the parents. The male and female involved have a manner to contend the determination when aggrieved. One manner is by the female contesting and seting up loud and long protests continuously. This leads to the matrimony being annulled. The ceremonial involves the groom transporting her spouse from her parents hut to a specially built matrimony hut. By this, the groom additions some comparative power and imposes his wants on the miss. The bride shriek, boots and protests ( mock-forcible ) as she is carried off ( 80 ) . The twosome is expected to demo some regard and shyness in which the bride runs off on her first dark, for her to be brought back to her spouse and be anointed with fat ( Wiessner 254 ; Barnes 67 ) .

The Dobe Ju Hoansi matrimony pattern is important to their societal organisation and manner of life. The community relies on their environment and close household members for nutrient and endurance. Marriage is hence an extra resource of income and a manner of beef uping and diversifying societal webs. The groom besides comes to populate with the bride ‘s household for several old ages to run for them. The marriage-by-capture pattern high spots the struggles and strifes between parents and kids and partners. These struggles arise due to miss of spousal pick and age disparities ( Lee 81 ; Wiesner 254-260 ) . This matrimony pattern among the Dobe Ju Hoansi people is multi-beneficial ; a beginning of economic resource in the signifier of hxaro exchanges and common aid relationships.

On matrimonial sexual dealingss parents may make up one’s mind to hold sex discreetly as kids sleep besides them. This is an unfastened pattern that is considered natural compared to other civilizations where sex is done in secret. Children frequently learn sex at early ages and research sexual drama amongst them. Children respect the thought of sex and virginity has no intending amongst their free life styles. At early ages of 15 kids have sexual dealingss ( Lee 38 ) . This nevertheless changes as kids grow up and understand the intent of sex, which is supposed to convey satisfaction for both spouses. Sexual activity is non governed by unbalanced power constructions as in other societies where the pleasance of one gender is emphasized. With this rule of equalitarianism and equality there are lesser Acts of the Apostless of work forces to exercise their power over females in Acts of the Apostless of colza or force ( Lavender & A ; Emily, “ Kinship and Descent ” 153-165 ) . This contrasts the theory forwarded by Friedel, who argues that males in hunter-gatherer societies dominate the females ( 128-133 ) .

Turning to the Trobrianders, matrimony and gender is a pattern that takes centre phase in their lives and societal organisation. One common facet among the Trobriand people and the Dobe Ju Hoansi is the freedom of gender and some signifier of matrilinear societal construction ( Weiner 2-14 ) . However, unlike the Dobe Ju Hoansi, the Trobrianders pattern subsistence gardening. Matrilineal kins control land and resources. The Trobrianders pattern a matriarchal system where descent is passed through the adult female. When a adult male marries, his married woman ‘s brothers are the caputs of the household and the bride has to give them a big measure of green goods. Half of the bride ‘s green goods is given to the married woman ‘s brother ( maternal uncle ) and nominally, they ( married woman ‘s brothers ) are in charge of the kids ( Weiner 10-22 ) . In pattern, the male parent takes attention of his kids, but in his decease, his belongings and any properties will travel to his married woman ‘s brother ‘s kids. His kids are supposed to inherit from his uncles. This is a alone difference from what the Dobe Ju Hoansi pattern. It is hence hard for a male parent to give a gift to his boies. Fathers give intangible gives such as thaumaturgies and dances. Fathers result to learning their boies the most powerful thaumaturgy and intricate dances they know ; gifts that can non be taken off from them.

At early ages of eight and seven, immature kids start playing titillating games with each other and imitating grownups. Equally early as 13 kids change their forms and get down prosecuting sexual spouses. Womans are every bit dominant as work forces in pursuing and accepting or declining lover, a civilization that is widely encouraged. There are no official traditional matrimony ceremonials among the Trobrianders. A adult female usually stays in a adult male ‘s house instead than populating it before dawn. When a Trobriand twosome wants to acquire married, they show the desire by kiping and dating together, hanging out in public topographic points together and remaining together for rather longer periods. The male child presents a gift to the miss, which the miss accepts. Subsequently, the parents accept and O.K. the twosome. The miss so moves into the male childs house, accompanies him and word goes round that both are married. In a period of one twelvemonth, the married woman may disassociate the adult male, if she is dissatisfied or if the adult male gets another adult female. A adult male may besides make up one’s mind to acquire back with the married woman he divorced. This is done by giving the adult female ‘s parents yams and other gifts, but the determination lies with the adult female ( Weiner 10-22 ; Malinowski 107 )

This matrimony pattern differs from the marriage-by-capture system practiced by the Doe Ju Hoansi, where parents initiate the procedure on behalf of the bride and groom. Here, the adult male and adult female stay together, know each other and both are given equal opportunities of determination devising. It is a matrimony by common consent of both spouses. However either manner betrothal gifts are present in both communities. Yams are normally used for this intent. Every twelvemonth a adult male is supposed to turn yams for his sister and his girl if she is married. The more yams a adult female receives, the richer she is. The hubby gives his married woman ‘s male parent or brother a gift in acknowledgment of the yams they give his married woman. Another alone facet in matrimony among the Trobriand people is the thaumaturgy. A adult female is said to go pregnant when an hereditary spirit enters her organic structure and causes construct. After the kid is born, it is the female parent ‘s brother who presents yams to her sister so that the kid is fed with nutrient from its enation instead than from the male parent ‘s. Young people receive the thaumaturgy from order families in exchange for baccy and other gifts such a kula ( Malinowski 107 ) .

In Gopalpur small town matrimony is viewed as an effort to transform a relationship between a adult male and a married woman into a legal entity ( Beals 13 ; Lavenda & A ; Emily169-181 ) . Marriage unites people together and makes them shut to each other. Marriage perceptual experience varies from one society to another depending on degrees of economic development. In some, it is a show of love and obeisance to cultural ties, while in others it is the lone certain manner of lasting economic adversities. “ Gopalpur: a Southern Indian small town ” refers to an descriptive anthropology written by Alan Beals in 1962 who describes the life in the small town. He expounds the function of matrimony in Indian civilization. Beals argues that matrimony is a “ mini-society ” representation. It is the lone topographic point in Indian society where a individual may experience secure and protected. The household unit provides the possibility to last, prosper or keep economic art. Beals found that an confederation of two people ( adult male and adult female ) culminates into an confederation of households, making a bigger family made of kids and their grandchildren. A bigger household in Gopalpur is a mark of art and prosperity of the laminitiss of the household ( Beals 13-18 ; Lavender & A ; Emily 169-181 ) . A big household is a beginning of larger working custodies and the more the household works, the higher the opportunities of endurance.

The authorities of Gopalpur is crude ; it draws a thick line between the rich middle classs and the hapless proletarian people of Gopalpur. The household is an ineluctable oasis of common people who spend most of their clip working and afraid to lose their occupations. Marriage is a “ common bad luck ” in Gopalpur that holds the people together. Families hold together to other households doing a bigger small town related to each other in a manner. Indeed Beals attributes the big Indian population to the integrity of the households that make them keep together.

One facet that brings out the unifying power of matrimony is the fiscal and economic stableness. Marriage in Gopalpur is important for some male monarch of fiscal stableness and wealth. Two caputs are better than one. In Gopalpur matrimonies, there is some signifier of exchange of goods. The people by and large have no money. This exchanges starts with agricultural techniques and it ends up with different ownerships that can subsequently be sold. The matrimonies among the people of Gopalpur are non simply for reproduction, they are associations that promise possible and future economic additions for the members that marriage green goodss ( Beals 13-18 ; Lavender & A ; Emily 168-181 ) . Without the household it would be hard for the people of Gopalpur to keep the economic or spiritual constructions they have.


One common facet of matrimony among the three ethnographic groups described above is the fact that matrimony is the foundation of any society. It is hard to analyse any societal organisation of a society without concentrating on matrimony. Marriage is the beginning of family-the smallest unit of society. Another common characteristic shared by the three groups is the fact that matrimony acts as a beginning of economic power. This can be as a consequence of combined attempts of the married woman, hubby, kids and the bigger extended household. The betrothal gifts or “ dowry ” is besides a beginning of wealth for the bride ‘s parents.

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Analyzing And Comparing Ethnographies English Literature Essay. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

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