Cultural Anthropology Ethnography Essay examples

Submitted By AquaMoose13
Words: 1153
Pages: 5

For my ethnography project I chose to spend an hour at the local children’s park. Hemlock Park is located in downtown Big Rapids, by the middle school. Hemlock consists of a fenced-in playscape which inside consists of a jungle gym that is shaped like a castle, swings, a sand box, monkey bars and other various activities for the children. Outside of the playscape there is a huge grassy area, it has an “open building” with tables and chairs, and grills for people to use. Hemlock also consists of the river walk, the tennis courts, and the music pavilion close by. Today when I went to Hemlock I witnessed roughly 30 children running around, playing together, or separately. Mothers sitting on the benches, reading or watching their children run around. Some mothers played with their children inside the playscape. You could smell the freshly cut grass, and the aroma of someone cooking food on the grill. You could hear the children laughing and screaming, and occasionally someone crying. Every once in a while you could hear a parent reprimanding a child for playing too rough or not listening to the rules set by the parent. I could taste the freshness of the air and feel the soft grass that I was sitting on.
The biggest idea from cultural anthropology that I linked to my observations was the idea that culture is learned, shared, symbolic, integrated, and adaptive. Watching all of the children interacting I truly believe that children learn their culture through enculturation which is also referred to as socialization, and that they start learning it as a child. I watched children observe other people’s behavior whether it be a parents or another child’s; you could see the observation click inside their head and know they learned something from it, they learned what should or should not have been said or done. Sometimes however it took a parent reprimanding their child in order for the child to realize what they did or said was wrong. This also brought about the idea that culture is shared I noticed that the children acted, dressed, spoke, and played in similar ways. The only way that this kind of uniformity would have arisen would have been if the children shared what they had learned from their parents or each other. The idea that culture is symbolic I also had witnessed during my observations. Symbols can come in many forms verbal or nonverbal, written or unwritten. They can be anything that conveys a meaning, such as words on the page, drawings, pictures, and gestures. Clothing, homes, cars, and other consumer items are symbols that imply a certain level of social status. As was sitting on the bench close to the playground and I overheard two little boys who were playing with toy cars say that when they grow up they want to own “100 cars and a huge house with a pool inside”, although this is not what everyone in American culture owns, if you look at the people in the elite class they generally have excessive amounts of cars and huge mansions. Culture being integrated was tied to my observation because I observed many children of assumable different backgrounds and cultures playing together, and acting as a whole. This has to be done in a child’s everyday life from school to extracurricular activities. Culture can also be seen as an adaptation, you see it in everyday life. While doing my observation I seen that depending on the situation that the child was exposed too or even depending on who they were engaging in play with, the child would adapt the way that they were playing or the words that they would use to express themselves.
Language or linguistics is one of the main science studies in anthropology, and especially important is language and its uses in social relations. While observing children I noticed them displaying many aspects of cultural anthropology. While I was watching them I was also listening to the way they spoke, and I noticed that they spoke to some people differently than others. They practiced