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Essay Preview: Anthropology

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Anthropology proves to be satisfying and

intellectually fulfilling to many in the field.

However, there are also many challenges and bumps in

the road along the way. Napolean A. Chagnon and

Claire Sterk faced many of these challenges


During his fieldwork with the Yanomamo, Chagnon faced

many challenges interacting with the natives. Chagnon

could not practically communicate with the people

until about six months after he arrived. He notes ?

the hardest thing to live with was the incessant,

passioned, and often aggressive demands they would

make.? An example of this is the natives threatening

with a shout such as; ?If you don?t take me with you

on your next boat trip to Widokalyateri, I?ll chop a

hole in your canoe!? While trying to collect

genealogies, Chagnon found it very frustrating and

commented ? I could not have deliberately picked a

more difficult people to work with in this regard.?

This was because he first tried to use the names they

called each other, not knowing that the names they

called each other were completely ambiguous and didn?t

mean anything. He then later found out , after

collecting all the genealogical information, that only

the living members were accurate and the deceased

listed were mostly fake. He had to start all over. (

Chagnon 5)

Sterk did a different type of study on prostitution

and how it went on during a time when AIDS was a major

problem. This type of fieldwork is ethnographic

fieldwork. Sterk had to get established in rough

neighborhoods, crack houses, and sidewalks of busy

streets. She first and foremost had to locate her

samples by asking local taxi-drivers, bartenders , and

AIDS clinics. Developing a relationship and trust

with women who had never had any trustworthy people in

their lives was quite challenging as well. Sterk was

once followed home by one of the woman?s pimps and his

friends, and was jumped. The woman admitted to Sterk

over a year later that they wanted to teach her a

lesson and she knew about it all along. Sterk

describes ? At one time, I felt true hatred for a

crack house owner



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