Ethnography and 2nd Congregation Visits

The study of ethnography was our focus on Tuesday.  Learning that it literally translates into “writings” about “people”; made a lot more sense.  Additionally, we found out about six stages of ethnography that ethnographers usually follow.  The more a person knows about where they stand; the better they will understand the people they are investigating.  Furthermore, writing about said people is a difficult task—but the more they explain, the better others will begin to understand the culture.  Skills required for this field are, but not limited to: “listening; recognizing one’s own cultural baggage; and willingness to be vulnerable”.  Professor Spickard even shared with us a template of what one might use in the field.  This included helpful categories like “what I observed, my thoughts, and external details”.

Thursday was a real treat to hear about everyone’s 2nd congregation visit.  Everything from who was in attendance, to the clothing the pastor and congregants wore were all so varied—I can see why it takes a sociologist a while to collect all this data.  One of my favorites was the St. Mary’s Congregation.  The fact that mass was only about 30 minutes; nobody felt close to one another; and the pastor was rather in and out of there; it was unlike any other Catholic churches we have read about.  Another interesting one was the Light of the World Church.  Hearing that it is the second largest religious body in Mexico is a fascinating reveal; not to mention the gender politics at play with the men on the left side and the women on the right.