Ethnography

Category archives for Ethnography

But that isn’t always how it goes. On today’s radio show, Steve Borsch was talking about the way in which social networking (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is playing out — as an extension of social interaction more than as a new form of shopping mall or marketing environment — and an observation I made a couple…

Elephant Tracks and Child Safety Devices

It is probably true that every culture has child safety devices. It is also probably true that all of these devices are very limited in their effectiveness.

The Feast

The enemy has arrived, in force, outside your village. The men are armed and wearing the symbols of war, which is appropriate because your group and the group milling about outside your walled settlement are at war. One of the men, wearing war garb but adorned also with white flagging to indicate a peaceful intent…

Why do women shop and men hunt?

Or, when the hunting season is closed, watch teh game (the guys), or when there are no sales, admire each other’s shoes (the gals)? This is, of course, a parody of the sociobiological, or in modern parlance, the “evolutionary psychology” argument linking behaviors that evolved in our species during the long slog known as The…

Georges Bank is a very large shallow area in the North Atlantic, roughly the size of a New England state, that serves as a fishing ground and whaling area (these days for watching the whales, not harpooning them) for ports in New England, New York and Eastern Canada. Eighteen thousand years ago, sea levels were…

“Get her drunk then get her done.” So reads one of the decals on the F-150 pickup truck parked in my new neighbor’s driveway. Of all the objectionable aphorisms on that particular truck, that’s the mildest one. I wonder what my daughter will think of that when she notices it some time over the next…

Reading Human Nature

“Human nature” is an interesting topic. People will argue over the definition of human nature, but regardless of what people think or say, it is reasonable to assume that all humans share a psychological and developmental framework to the extent that any two people raised in the same background will ‘turn out’ similar with respect…

Silence of the muffins.

There is no red shirted man making deals on the phone as he paces back and forth. There is no group of large voiced church people being all holier than thou. And loud. Eight out of ten customers in this coffee shop are writers. I can tell because they come in and sit down and…

Duncan Watts at Yahoo Research in New York City and a few pals studied the time of day at which around 3000 individuals at a European university sent emails over an 83-day period as well as the email habits of over 122,000 e-mailers at a US university over a 2-year period. They found two distinct…