IGNOU BSOE 144 Solved Free Assignment
BSOE 144 Solved Free Assignment July 2023 & January 2024
Q. 1. What is Ethnography? Explain the pre-requisites of writing Ethnography.
Ans. Ethnography is derived from the Greek term ‘Ethnos’, which refers to a people, a race, or a cultural group.
The term ethnographic refers to the science committed to describing human ways of living when the ethno prefix is coupled with graphic.
The term “ethnography” refers to a social scientific account of a people as well as the cultural foundations of their peoplehood (Peacock, 1986).
The art and science of ethnography is the description of a group or culture (Fetterman, 1998:1).
It is a systematic depiction of culture through fieldwork that originated in Anthropology and has since been embraced by social science fields.
It entails the ethnographer/researcher joining overtly or covertly in people’s daily life for an extended period of time, capturing and collecting all available data in order to shed light on the issues at hand (Hammersley and Atkinson, 1995;1).
Such an endeavour tries to produce a “thick description” (Geertz, 1973), that is, an in-depth thorough depiction of people’s daily lives and practices.
Ethnography, as a qualitative methodology, is well suited to examining people’s beliefs, practices, social interactions, and behaviours through participant observation and subsequent interpretation (Denzin and Lincoln, 2011; Berry, 2011).
It’s critical to distinguish between ethnography as a process and ethnography as a product.
Ethnography as a method, i.e., participating in and collecting data in the field, allows the researcher to intensively watch, record, and interact in the daily life of another culture, a process known as fieldwork.
Unlike ethnography as a product (i.e. ethnographic writings), the ethnographer provides detailed descriptions of the culture he studied, which include the ethnographer’s personal and theoretical thoughts and are available to the public (Barnard and Spencer, 1996).
The positivist method was first supported by anthropologists and ethnographers, and the major goal of ethnography was to produce comprehensive, holistic, and complete accounts of the fields they visited.
‘The job is to capture the people’s culture, attitudes, and practices, of the people in these circumstances,’ Hammersley says.
The goal is to “get inside each set of people’s worldview.” Based on the researcher’s direct observations or conversations with a few key informants, the ethnographer provides a thorough description of the research location and participants.
The ethnographer provides a detailed description of the research setting and participants based on the researcher’s direct observations or talks with a few key informants.
The triangulation technique is beneficial because it allows you to compare what people say to what they actually do.
The ethnographic data is analyzed inductively thematically, that is, the data is categorized into themes, and then the ethnographers construct preliminary theoretical explanations of their empirical work by rigorous examination.
A Holistic Outlook
Ethnographers use a holistic approach to research in order to obtain a whole image of a social group and to characterize its history, economy, religion, politics, and environment.
This perspective enables ethnographers to perceive reality outside the immediate cultural context.
Placing the outdoor observations in a social context would provide a broader perspective. Take, for instance, a study on female education.
You may notice that the dropout rate of female students is often substantially greater than that of male pupils. Assume that the ethnographer situates this problem within a larger context.
In that instance, he may discover that the girls drop out of school as a result of the added weight of everyday household tasks or caring for younger siblings and assisting their mothers.
The ethnographer may be able to perceive social life better by taking into account the greater context of gender roles.
Emic Vs. Etic Perspective
Most ethnographic research revolves around the emic perspective, or the insider’s or native’s perspective of reality.
Understanding and accurately characterizing situations and behaviours rely on this insider’s vision of reality (Fetterman, 2010; 20). An etic perspective, on the other hand, is a social scientific view of reality from the outside.
The majority of ethnographers document the emic perspective before adding it to their scientific research.
Furthermore, a good ethnography necessitates both emic and etic view-points (ibid; 22). When emic and etic are combined, a more scientifically informed empirical reality emerges.
Non-Judgemental View of Reality
If they come across an unfamiliar practice, they should refrain from making any improper judgments. However, it is recognized that the ethnographer cannot be objective and has their own views and biases.
Ethnocentric behaviour, or the imposition of one’s cultural norms and standards on another culture based on the assumption that one is superior to the other, is an anthropological fallacy.
Q. 2. Discuss various steps of conducting scientific ethnographic research.
Ans. In order to describe and carry out the complete research process, every style of study, whether qualitative or quantitative, has a number of crucial aspects.
Scientific ethnography, too, has a number of fundamental components that are placed in a predictable order.
Scholars (such as Creswell, 1994; Berg, 2004) have provided a more detailed description of scientific ethnography’s steps. We’ll now go through some of the stages involved in performing scientific ethnographic research.
Formulation of Research Problem
The first stage in doing scientific ethnographic research is to formulate a research problem. The major area of study that an ethnographer aims to learn about and explore is referred to as the research problem.
A well-established research subject or title draws the researcher since the researcher has researched and analysed the literature linked to the problem prior to establishing a title.
An ethnographer can use this pre-existing material to create a title that can be examined using various ethnographic data gathering metho-dologies.
These issues are investigated on the spot when they occur. An ethnographer formulates a new problem for investigation based on his past understanding of the topic.
Selecting a Research Site
Prior to beginning their study, ethnographers’ first concern is determining and deciding on a field site. In general, ethnographic research is undertaken in settings where individuals organically interact with one another.
This distinguishes ethnography from experimental research, in which we have control over the participants, but ethnography has no influence over the behaviours and interactions of those being studied.
Ethnographers research the research place they plan to use for their study thoroughly.
They do this by using objective criteria while deciding on a study site. They usually choose a study site that is free of any gatekeeping and may be compared to other areas where ethnographers have already performed research.
Gaining Access Obtaining access entails gaining formal admittance into the group that an ethnographer wishes to research and investigate.
However, consider how an ethnographer immerses themselves in that community. An ethnographer is obliged to obtain permission in settings where there is a lot of gatekeeping.
Permission is obtained for ethnographic fieldwork by first volunteering in the group and then immersing as a researcher.
Another way to acquire access is to have a well-known individual advocate for an ethnographer’s access to the group being studied. Without access to people and their land, ethnographic research is impossible.
This is one of the most challenging aspects of ethnographic research. Fieldwork in ethnography necessitates a high level of participation from the individuals being studied.
What’s important is that once access is secured, an ethnographer must commit a significant amount of time to gain people’s confidence and keep that trust throughout the study process.
Presenting Self to the Group
Presenting oneself to the group refers to the manner in which an ethnographer interacts with his subjects and the manner in which he chooses to appear in front of them.
It also shows what sort of function an ethnographer plays in adapting to the surroundings of the people being studied and how to form relationships with others. In general, when dealing with people, an ethnographer must be courteous.
He or she must respect the time and space of participants, as well as observe ethical guidelines.
However, these characteristics of ethnography contribute to the difficulties of doing ethnographic fieldwork in the sense that an ethnographer must be aware of the motivations and objective of conducting research while being fully immersed in the community under investigation.
To get an inside picture and prevent obstacles while negotiating for access, total immersion in the group as well as thorough involvement in the activities of the persons under study is required.
Data Collection, Information Recording and Field Notes
Making field notes is an important part of the data gathering process. In ethnography, field notes are the conventional method of data collecting.
Field notes were largely handwritten in the past, but in today’s technology world, field notes are created on a laptop. However, an ethnographer frequently finds it difficult to capture and collect data.
To circumvent this, an ethnographer needs have advance knowledge of the kind of data needed for study, which can be written down in field notes or captured using a recording device.
The majority of the time, the researcher is unable to recollect the replies of the participants. To overcome this stumbling block, an ethnographer must record the observation as soon as possible after leaving the study site.
Noting down observations from the field minimises the risk of missing valuable information from the participants.
Singleton and Straits (2005) have outlined several key elements that should be included in field notes, including:
Running Description: Running description refers to correctly describing what has been noticed during the day.
Because such accounts are produced while an ethnographer is in the field and records down what is observed, they do not include any interpretation or analysis of what is witnessed.
While doing field work, analysing data may obstruct the observation process. Forgotten Events: Field notes must also include information that an ethnographer may have overlooked earlier but recalls while on the job.
These forgotten instances are documented because ethnographers believe they are relevant to the type of study being conducted.
This data becomes a valuable source for analysis, and it might contain any type of assumption about the behaviour and relationships of the persons under investigation.
These notes regarding forgotten incidents are often useful because they aid an ethnographer in planning future observations or identifying specific topics that need to be explored.
Personal Thoughts: While conducting fieldwork, an ethnographer is expected to document and jot down his own personal opinions regarding the subjective reactions of the informants.
In the final stages of study, personal ideas lessen the odds of missing or hiding any of the observations.
Methodological Notes: Writing about metho-dological concerns during fieldwork entails writing about the ethnographic research approaches used.
It might also cover the challenges that an ethnographer encounters throughout the data gathering process, as well as the dangers involved with data collection methodologies that could lead to skewed results, as well as how field notes are written and observations documented.
Analysing Ethnographic Data
The organisation of ethnographic data into units based on themes is the first step in ethnographic data analysis. Otherwise, this data may appear to be a jumble of unstructured data.
The act of organising data into multiple units is known as coding, and it is accomplished by reading and re-reading the data in order to separate them conceptually.
In ethnographic study, there are two types of coding. The first is index coding, which assigns no significance to the information gathered.
The second type of coding is open coding, which is used in the later phases of data analysis when it’s vital to give the data a meaning.
Ethnographers gather a great quantity of data for ethnographic investigations in order to describe the daily life of the people being researched.
Given the vast amount of data acquired, an ethnographer’s task of data analysis becomes extremely difficult.
As a result, an ethnographer deduces meaning from the data without having any preconceived notions about the topic under investigation.
It starts as soon as the data gathering procedure begins, allowing an ethnographer to detect numerous themes and conduct in- depth analysis.
One of the most important aspects of the ethnographic research process is writing ethnography. In today’s world, ethnography is recognised as much for how it is written as it is for how ethnographic material is obtained.
It has undoubtedly evolved into a literary activity. Writing ethnography can’t be limited to a collection of methodological issues as it was once thought.
In today’s world, an ethnographer must draw on literary theory and contribute to ethnographic writing through rhetoric and other related subjects.
An ethnographer informs about his writing talents in the production of ethnographies by doing so.
The way ethnographers compose their ethnographies is reflective. Reflexivity is not restricted to the facts encountered during fieldwork and data collecting.
It also pertains to the writing process through which ethnographers convert their own perspectives on social phenomena into scholarly prose.
There are various methods to write ethnographies, in the sense that diverse styles of writing and ideas can influence an ethnographer in how to express the material collected.
Different ethnographers might generate both complimentary and conflicting analytical ethnography due to variances in writing styles and ideas used in the writing.
Q. 3. What is virtual Ethnography?
Ans. Digital ethnography is also seen as virtual ethnography. This type of ethnography is not so typical as ethnography recorded by pen and pencil.
Digital ethnography allows for a lot more opportunities to look at different cultures and societies. Traditional ethnography may use videos or images, but digital ethnography goes more in-depth.
For example, digital ethnographers would use social media platforms such as Twitter or blogs so that people’s interactions and behaviors can be studied.
Modern developments in computing power and AI have enabled higher efficiencies in ethnographic data collection via multimedia and computational analysis using machine learning to corroborate many data sources together to produce a refined output for various purposes.
A modern example of this technology in application, is the use of captured audio in smart devices, transcribed to issue targeted adverts (often reconciled vs other metadata, or product development data for designers).
Digital ethnography comes with its own set of ethical questions, and the Association of Internet Researchers’ ethical guidelines are frequently used.
Gabriele de Seta’s paper “Three Lies of Digital Ethnography” explores some of the methodological questions more central to a specifically ethnographical approach to internet studies, drawing upon Fine’s classic text.
Virtual ethnography, which is focused on the Internet and online communities, is another suggested route to global ethnography.
Since one of the primary mechanisms by which local people maintain social contacts and communities beyond national borders is through the internet.
Ethnographers should be wary of reverting to a digital “armchair anthropology” based on secondary sources and interactions documented in cyber-communities.
Q. 4. What are the main areas covered by the book Street Corner Society?
Ans. SCS is a study about social interaction, networking, and everyday life among young Italian-American men in Boston’s North End (Cornerville) during the latter part of the Great Depression.
It describes the complex social worlds of highway gangs and corner boys to prove that an underprivileged community does not have the need for social disorder.
‘Street Corner Society’ (SCS) was first published in 1943 by the University of Chicago Press as William Foote Whyte’s ‘Street Corner Society: The Social Structure of an Italian Slum’.
It’s been dubbed a “classic” study of field research and participant observation. Over the years, it has been reissued multiple times.
It is a description of the behaviours of certain persons in an Italian slum section of an American metropolis, grouped into several groups.
His data comes from a three-and-a- half-year (1936-1940) study of the neighbourhood he dubbed “Cornerville.”
Spending time in the region allowed him to have a better understanding of how the social structure of street corner gangs evolved over time.
His research has debunked the notion that slums are intrinsically disordered. He aimed to bring forth the degree of organisation in a slum via his work.
His ideas indicate that social scientists don’t grasp the nature of slum organisation and, as a result, label them as disorderly.
He was able to comprehend the way relationships were constructed in Cornerville after spending a lot of time in the field.
The character of slum social organisation, according to Whyte, will not be understood until more sociologists turn their focus away from social disarray and explore the process of social reconstruction. SCS might be viewed as a step in the right direction.
SCS is a research project that looks at social interaction, networking, and everyday living among young Italian-American males in Boston’s North End (Cornerville) during the Great Depression.
It depicts the intricate social worlds of highway gangs and corner boys in order to demonstrate that a disadvantaged society does not require societal instability.
Part I of SCS explains how local street gangs, known as corner boys, originate and contrasts them with college boys in terms of social organisation and mobility. The social framework of politics and racketeering is outlined in Part II.
The book’s main framework is centred on the key categorizations among the population studied: ‘little folks of Cornerville,’ ‘corner boys,’ and ‘college boys,’ as opposed to the ‘big shots,’ racketeers, and politicians,’ progressing from ‘lower sand smaller to higher and bigger levels of organisation.’
The book’s writing follows a typical pattern, beginning with a broad overview of life in Cornerville, then limiting the attention to one group of corner lads, and then to one person, whom he referred to as Doc.
After that, the book’s focus broadens once again to tackle wider and more comprehensive community concerns before concluding with a description of Cornerville’s social structure.
As can be seen from Whyte’s remark, the analytic aim stays the same whether the scope is broad or small-
“The corner gang, the racket and police organizations, the political organization, and now the social structure have all been described and analysed in terms of a hierarchy of personal relations based upon a system of reciprocal obligations.
These are the fundamental elements out of which all Cornerville institutions are constructed.”
Q. 5. What do you understand by scientific approach?
Ans. Scientific approach is a feature of positivism which can be tested independent of the researcher. The methods of study used by ethnography as a science differ from those used by other social and behavioural sciences.
The distinction is that, unlike other disciplines, ethnography assumes that ethnographers must first investigate the behaviours of the people under study, as well as how they explain their acts with logic.
This is crucial in ethnography before the ethnographer tries to explain their activities and link them to his or her own ideas or views.
It is also for this reason that the data collection techniques are fine- tuned in accordance with the study objectives.
Because ethnography entails participant observation, the ethnographer’s eyes and hearing, which are particularly crucial in participant observation, are the most fundamental tools with which to gather data.
Ethnographers study culture and people’s behaviours by engaging in and observing how people go about their daily lives.
They also employ interview schedules, take notes on what they see and hear, and record the discussions they have with individuals. More significantly, ethnographers get insight into how individuals interpret their activities.
Many academics disagree with the idea that ethnographers are one of the most important methods for acquiring data.
This reality does not sit well with them. Instead, they trust in science’s objectivity and argue that having an ethnographer in the community and having a relationship with the individuals being studied might lead to skewed results.
There are formalised ethnographic approaches to address this bias in ethnographic results.
These standardised procedures guarantee that ethnographers gather data carefully and exhaustively using methods that can be replicated and reproduced by others, regardless of changes in social circumstances such as population shifts or alterations in physical characteristics.
This will aid in the scientific production of dependable and valid outcomes. Another distinction between scientific ethnography and other scientific disciplines is that, unlike other social and behavioural sciences, ethnographers have no influence over what happens in the field.
Scientific ethnography occurs in a social situation in which the ethnographer appears as a participant or visitor who observes what is going on.
Q. 6. Describe various roles of the leader?
Ans. Another factor to consider is the function of the leader. It is critical for the political team’s seamless operation that someone make decisions inside the group and that other members follow those decisions.
As a result, the leader’s primary task becomes this. A leader is largely responsible for two sorts of decisions: one that aids in the management of the group and the other that pertains to the duties that the team must do in relation to the outside world.
The members may compete with one another for a larger proportion of the spoils or profit, or they may compete for primacy in moral teams, in which case the leader must arbitrate and settle these disputes.
The leader must assume the position of referee, and it is in the leader’s best interests to end these disagreements as soon as possible, because the longer the argument drags on, the more resources are squandered that might be put to better use.
While it is understandable to sit still and do nothing in order to allow a situation to resolve itself, doing so can often result in long-term damage.
If the leader believes the dispute is too minor to be resolved by mediation, arbitration can be used. In this instance, the group’s leader will make a decision that is binding.
This not only helps to keep order, but it also establishes the fact that the leader has a strong social standing.
While making these decisions, the leader must strike a balance between the three types of actions that occur in the group: first, a decision that most agree on, i.e. consensual decisions; second, decisions that don’t have time for a discussion and must be imposed on the group; and finally, a decision that is so consensual that it is not taken by anyone in particular and is agreed upon by all.
The rationale for the balancing is that while consensual decisions are well-considered, imposed conclusions may cause anger among the group.
However, without a leader to make these spur-of-the-moment judgments, the organisation will disintegrate.
While they are necessary for the group’s survival, they should not be taken too frequently.
Q. 7. What is Online Ethnography?
Ans. A new technique of practicing ethnography is to use an online or virtual media to examine internet communities in various forms.
Through a variety of study methodologies, this research method investigates how humans live and interact online.
According to Hine, ethnographic researchers begin by questioning what is taken for granted and attempting to analyze and contextualize ‘the way things are’ (Hine 2000: 8).
In the case of the internet, this implies that academics question the concept that the internet is a product of its technological aspects, and instead investigate how it is built by the way people inhabit, use, and actively make it.
Ethnography in online environments has been helpful in revealing the complexities of Internet-based interactions and allowing us to investigate new cultural formations that emerge online (Hine, 2008; 401).
As the Internet grew, so did the number of ways to studying online areas.
Three eras of online ethnography:
- Pioneering methods viewed the Internet as a new realm for identity development, emphasizing the uniqueness of online social forms.
- . The recent advent of multi-modal techniques that integrate video and audio data alongside textual data.
- . Also strive to conceive online interactions inside offline environments, as well as the transfer of offline methodological problems into the online domain.
Q. 8. What do you understand by political structure?
Ans. As previously said, political structure is viewed as a game in which there are two (or more) teams, a reward for which all participants are vying, and lastly, rules governing how the game should be played.
For Bailey, a political structure may be thought of as a collection of rules that make up the system. The guidelines cover five principles in general.
Determining what the reward is, as well as the activities that make one deserving of the award: The prize is culturally defined and related to power or honour in everyday life.
Furthermore, it must be something precious that is limited and difficult to obtain. This value both causes and regulates the competition that occurs.
These principles are also symbolic and culturally defined, and they must be recited in order for them to live on.
Identifying those who are eligible to compete for the prize: A political framework recognises at least three types of persons who are eligible to participate in politics.
The first is the political community, which is the political structure’s largest limit. The rules no longer apply outside of this system, which helps separate insiders from outsiders.
The second is the political elite, which is a subset of the political community, and it is from this pool that individuals might be selected to compete for particular authorities and privileges.
Finally, there’s the political team, which describes how people in a political framework should work together. It is often how supporters are organised, and an association is a group formed based on achievement status.
Defining the makeup of the competing teams: The political community can be used to determine the composition of the members. It is the structure’s broadest border, as previously stated.
Within it, there are groups and elites, and even deeper, there are a slew of political teams vying for the prize.
Finally, the leader is at the centre of it all. The groups may be classified into two types depending on whether the team is morally obligated to the leader and therefore a part of the group, or whether they are there on a contractual basis; the former is a moral team, while the latter is a contract team.
Defining how the competition will take place, as well as what constitutes fair and unfair practises in the ‘game’: The competition rules not only constrain the behaviour of those who participate, but also promote a sense of order and ensure that lines of communication between all competitors are very clear.
Confrontations are the means through which these signals are communicated. These signals may result in a public exhibition of strength, a display of the resources available to each team, known as an encounter.
Specifying the method to be followed in the event that the rules are broken: There are systems in place in the political framework to guarantee that if competitors have opposite view-points, they may be resolved via the use of mediators.
The job of a mediator is not set in stone and might alter from scenario to situation. Those who are on the same team in one scenario may be on opposite teams in another.
Q. 9. Which are the prominent castes that the Coorgs interact with?
Ans. The most prominent castes that the Coorgs interact with are the Brahmin or the priest, the Kaniyas who are astrologers, Banna is the caste which usually performs the rites prescribed by the Kaniya; further there are the blacksmith, carpenter, goldsmith, washerman and barber.
These castes are again associated with their professional role; however, they also have special significance during festivities like the harvest festival were they provide ritually significant items to be used during the proceedings.
The washerman provides ritually pure clothes for different occasions while the barber is indispensable because shaving and cutting of nails is important act of attaining ritual purity for the performance of rites (while the touch of the barber itself is defiling and needs purification).
The Meda and Poleya are at the bottom of the caste hierarchy. Medas provide artifacts like baskets, fish-traps, and receptacles of cane, vote reed, and bamboo; and are essential for Coorg festival, dance or hunt, where they beat their tom-tom.
Poleyas are servants attached to the okka as household servants or agricultural labourers.
The castes and professional categories mentioned here are blanket terms and consist of a number of sub-castes. These inter-caste relations are managed through prescribed annual remunerations at the time of harvest.
Sometimes ritual occasions stress the structural distance that prevails between the castes. However, some ritual roles place individuals from a lower caste, temporarily, in a superior position vis-a-vis the high castes.
Further, some rites/rituals involve imperative participation and responsibilities of castes with which a social distance is maintained under usual circumstances, thus minimizing the structural distance.
It is important to note that horizontal and vertical solidarity are continuously negotiated to maintain a societal balance.
Chapter 6 reiterates this when it mentions that “A village is a multi-caste association and the unity of the village always demands that caste-ties are checked sufficiently to prevent their overflowing the village and that unity with other castes occupying different positions in the hierarchy is stressed”.
Q. 10. What is Continuous Globalization?
Ans. Continuous Globalization: There is another type of globalization that is contiguous and involves the actual physical movement of people, goods and capital across national borders
It de-territorializes, since it involves social processes that are no longer tied to specific places and territories, but move across national borders.
Here the globalizing agent (whether people, goods, capital, or facilities) actually moves and relocates to other countries and is physically present in the local society.