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  Friday, August 25, 2006

  Kate Fox on participant observation and hidden rules of English behaviour

Yesterday, while changing planes in Stockholm I picked up a book written by an anthropologist Kate Fox -  Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour. The fun has started from the introdution on 'anthropology at home' and then continued with study results written up in scientific and humorous way at the same time.

A quote on participant observation (I guess it will end up somewhere in my dissertation :):

Anthropologists are trained to use a research method known as 'participant observation', which is essentially means participating in the life and culture of the people one is studying, to gain a true insider's perspective on their customs and behaviors, while simultaneously observing them as a detached, objective scientist. Well, that's the theory. In practice it often feels rather like that children's game where you try to pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time.

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