As a cultural anthropologist what might you propose to research and would it be an Ethnology or Ethnography?


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Alex Wheeler answered
As a cultural anthropologist, you would be concerned with the study of people in a culture, and the differences between that culture and others. You would study the culture in order to find out its inner workings, and what its boundaries are. A possible area of research could be that of monogamy - having one sexual partner - as whilst this seems normal to us, many cultures are polygamous in nature, and the ways that the societies function in these cultures is of great interest to many anthropologists.

In studying polygamous cultures, you would likely produce an ethnography. Ethnographies:
  • Are concerned with contextualization of information
  • Use both quantitative and qualitative measures
  • Look at histories and features of cultures - from origins and formations to present day elements.

Polygamy is defined as a marriage which has more than just two partners. There are two types - polygyny is when a man has more than a single wife, and polyandry refers to a woman with multiple male partners. In these relationships, there is no bond between the same-sex partners in the marriage; they are only bonded to the single man or woman.

Whilst Christianity considers polygamy to be a sin, other religions hold it as an integral part of their belief system. With Christianity being the dominant western religion for some time now, it is no wonder the idea seems strange to most of us!

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