Ethnography: Italian Wedding

MLA FORMAT: The student will construct a 3-4 page essay detailing their Ethnographic experience (topic previously approved in unit 2) involving participant-observation of a cultural event conducted during the current semester. There are two main portions of the essay, the description of the experiences (extracted from field notes) and the analysis of the data. Description: From the student’s field notes, a detailed description of everything you saw during your ethnographic field research will be recounted. The point of this aspect of the essay is to allow the reader who may not be familiar with the group/event/activity to experience it through your description. This should include things like: Colors (are there prevalent colors in the décor or the attire of the people?) Smells (aromas from food, incense, sweaty little soccer players) structural descriptions(what did the church look like/how were you able to identify that it was a church? What did the inside of the arena/bar look like/how did it differ from other buildings?) descriptions of the participants (ages, gender, SES, religion, status, hierarchy, etc.) verbal communication (specific words used like “quinceanera”, “bro”, “clear it down field”, “peace be with you”, “may I take your order”, “Hi honey” or other verbal communications that may be specific to this cultural group/event/activity non-verbal communication (ways of greeting one another-hugs/handshakes/head nods, eye contact-direct or deferred to show respect, body language-slouching because it is an informal event or arms crossed because the member feels annoyed/threatened, gesticulating-talking with many hand gestures to emphasize points) attire (don’t say formal dress, describe it because one person’s idea of formal may be different than another person’s. Formal ball gown with tiara and tuxedo or short black dress and suit jacket) Analysis: After the description, the student will extract the foundation for this cultural event. This is the portion in which all of the sights, sounds, smells, etc. can be evaluated for their impact on the group. Remember culture is shared, learned, and symbolic. Identify what stood out to you and you will be able to illustrate significant aspects for this event or activity. This should include things like: What is most important to these followers? (community-building, sharing and teaching values to the young, learning to compete in socially appropriate ways) Do the rituals/activities/actions indicate any culturally significant mores/values? (going to church shows that a person is trying to follow religious doctrines, dining out is an indicator that the group has disposable income) Why is this cultural event taking place? (communing on Sunday re-enacts the Last Supper, the dance competition allows for showcasing of talent along with critical evaluation of skills) What are the symbolic aspects of the event or activity? (Crosses, soccer balls, alcoholic drinks, birthday cake/pin-the-tail on the donkey) How do these symbols reflect the traditions, values, beliefs, etc. of the group? (sign of the cross also indicates a hierarchy of men, white is a symbol of purity which is important for the bride to be a virgin/double-standard for men.

#Ethnography #Italian #Wedding

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