Blog Post 4/15

During class last week we learned a little bit about Ethnography and how it differed from a sociologist. Ethno means people and graphy means writing, so in other words it means writing about people. Ethnographers tend to spend very long periods of time at the place they are looking at. During class we learned a little bit of background about how it started. One of the first ethnographers was W.F Whyte. He was hired to hang out with street gangs and find out how they worked, in order to try and get them to comply with society and behave with the middle class. At the time the street gangs were considered lower class and deviant, but still salvageable. What he ended up finding was that the street gangs were still people like anybody else, and he didn’t feel that they needed to be assimilated into the middle class anymore. He started to understand how they ran their lives and believed they still deserved to be treated with respect. Overall what came from this study was the complex picture of human beings that Whyte was able to portray. I think this is the most important job of ethnographers. It is imperative that they can show other people that do not understand them, that just because they have differing views, they still deserve to be treated just like everyone else, even if you don’t agree with them. This is why it is important for ethnographers to be able to realize the viewpoint they are at and express that in an article, so it does not come off as biased.