anth439 media ethnographic observation

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3-4 page paper.

Background: Participant observation is one of contemporary anthropology’s key methods for doing research. For this assignment it is time to try out some participant observation in order to get a better understanding of how media shapes our everyday lives. Each student will conduct a short ethnographic observation on media. This will entail doing participant observation of others using some form of media (i.e.: watching a movie, TV, sporting event, videos on the internet, or even playing video games). The goal of this assignment is to push you to think critically about how we actually use and engage with others around visual media. Keep in mind that this assignment is NOT about watching a film and then writing up a response. The goal is to observe someone (or a group of people) using or engaging with visual media and write about what you observe. The main subject of this assignment is not the content of the media per se, but instead how people use and engage with particular forms of media.

Assignment:

 Participate in an event where media is being used and observation everything. This means observe the environment, where is it, what does the physical environment look like, smell like, feel like, sound like… who is there, who is not there, what everyone doing, what are people talking about, what are you thinking…

ï‚· Answer the following questions:

o Who and what were you observing and participating in?

o How is the form of media used?

o When and where is it used?

o How does it affect or shape social interactions?

o What kinds of “conversations” or interactions are made possible through the media?

o Describe how it went. Be reflexive and give details of your experience.

o Connect the your experience and observations to class material. Note the point distribution for this. Class material is lectures, readings, films, discussions… Be overt about the material you are using by stating things like, “In the film…” or “Per the lecture…” or “Robbins states,…”. Act as if the reader has no idea about the class material.

Grading: This assignment is worth 100 points (Weighted to 7.5% of total grade)

ï‚· Writing/grammar: 20 points; ï‚· Detail in observations: 40 points; ï‚· Use and connection with the readings and class material: 40 points.

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