Ethnography: 4/15

This week we learned about ethnography, which is used to learn about different cultures and religions. Part of being a good ethnographer is being able to identify and put aside your own biases in order to conduct a study from the point of view of the study subjects. I definitely had to use this skill in order to conduct studies during my congregation visits. It is very easy to judge a culture that you are not a part of. When I went to the Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation, I found myself wanting to be judgmental of their worldview. When they showed signs of enforcing gender roles, I have to admit I was upset. I consider myself an avid feminist and liberal. However, I knew that I had to put my thoughts aside in order to conduct an accurate study. Therefore, I tried to think from their point of view. The gender roles may have made me uncomfortable, but it made them feel secure. I think it is a useful skill to use even if you are not conducting a sociology study. When we feel uncomfortable or upset about certain customs or traditions, we need to realize that humans are different all across the world. We do not all fit into the same mold. It is important that we try to see the world from a point of view different than our own. Just because something/someone is different, it does not mean it is better/worse. I will definitely use ethnography skills in the future.