Anthropology Methodology Comparison Essay by Peter Pen

Anthropology Methodology
This paper compares the research methodology used by anthropologists Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, who studied Kalahari Desert Bushmen, and Tim O'Meara, who studied Samoan planters.
# 57970 | 800 words | 0 sources | 2005
Published on Apr 21, 2005 in Anthropology (African) , Anthropology (Oceanic) , Research Designs (General)

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This paper related that Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of "The Harmless People" (1989), and Tim O'Meara, author of "Samoan Planters: Tradition and Economic Development in Polynesia" (1990), used simple anthropological research methodology to study the influence of external forces like globalization and development on primitive civilizations, such as the Kalahari Desert Bushmen and the Samoan planters. The author points out that both anthropologists situated themselves in the community being studied. O'Meara mixed with the local Samoan farmers to learn how they behave and interact, whereas, Thomas relied only on her observations of the Bushmen. The paper relates that O'Meara's method, limited by his research question, focused on developmental stages rather than on how people evolved; on the other hand, Thomas concentrated on the outcome of her subjects' ways of living.

From the Paper:

"Taking each day at a time, he had been able to relate with the locals at a personal level. He encountered their personal life by mixing with the male members of society. For example, he learned why the male considered it illicit to meet with their sisters. The Samoan men were proud of their ability to deflower virgins but it was injurious to their family pride if their females were subjected to such conduct. O'Meara hence depended on mixing with the locals to learn how they behave and how they interact."

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