Anthropology – The Library


SETTING – What are the specific characteristics of the physical and social arenas for action? When and where does the event unfold? Make a map or diagram of the place, or, if you have the participants’ permission, tape record, photograph, or videotape all or part of the event. Note the wealth of sounds, smells, and sights in the setting. Based on your knowledge and observation, does the activity occur frequently, at regular intervals, on special occasions, or during certain times of the year?

PARTICIPANTS – Who are the people involved? How are the people in the setting alike? How are they different? How do the people locate themselves within the place? How do you locate yourself within the place? Note attributes of particular people, including their age, gender, race/ethnicity, ways of speaking, dress, socioeconomic status, or any other attributes that seem especially salient. What attitudes and emotions are they conveying? How do the people and events make you feel?
TOPICS – What brings the participants together and what are they talking about? Catalogue the range of topics, focusing on what is said and unsaid. How does the setting constrain and facilitate the range of topics discussed?
GOALS – What are the various participants’ individual and communal goals? Do goals vary depending on participants’ roles and status within the setting? Why do you think the people are engaged in this activity or practice?

Prepare a three-page typed description that captures your experience and addresses the questions above.

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