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The studying of cultures -- measuring or immersing?

Magnusson, Susanna LU (2012) In Pondering on methods. A variety of methodological concerns. p.109-122
Abstract
The aim of this chapter is to discuss two different approaches to the studying of cultures – the etic and the emic approaches. The two different approaches reflect not only different views on how cultures ought to be studied, but also to some extent different views on the nature of cultures. The etic approach suggests that it is possible to study cultures from “the outside” and that it is feasible to compare different cultures along standardized, universal and objective dimensions. This perspective unfolds most clearly when using a quantitative methodological approach, such as in the works of the Dutch anthropologist Geert Hofstede. Hofstede is one of the most influential researchers on cultures within certain academic areas, such as... (More)
The aim of this chapter is to discuss two different approaches to the studying of cultures – the etic and the emic approaches. The two different approaches reflect not only different views on how cultures ought to be studied, but also to some extent different views on the nature of cultures. The etic approach suggests that it is possible to study cultures from “the outside” and that it is feasible to compare different cultures along standardized, universal and objective dimensions. This perspective unfolds most clearly when using a quantitative methodological approach, such as in the works of the Dutch anthropologist Geert Hofstede. Hofstede is one of the most influential researchers on cultures within certain academic areas, such as managerial cross-cultural studies. The emic approach, on the other hand, claims that each culture is unique, and should not be compared to other cultures. According to this approach, cultures can only be properly understood “from within” and to increase the understanding of a certain culture, qualitative methods such as “thick description” as proposed by the American anthropologist Clifford Geertz, are appropriate. In the chapter, I give an account of theoretical and methodological perspectives implied by the two different approaches and point out strengths and weaknesses. I finally argue that both approaches are justified in cultural research and also that they are possible to combine. However, as a researcher, it is necessary to thoroughly reflect on the basic theoretical and methodological assumptions embedded in the different views on culture. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
published
subject
keywords
emic, etic, Geertz, Hofstede, cultural anthropology
categories
Higher Education
in
Pondering on methods. A variety of methodological concerns.
editor
Katarina, Jacobsson and Katarina, Sjöberg
pages
109 - 122
publisher
Lund University, Faculty of Social Sciences
ISBN
91-7267-340-0
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
a7f6a0ef-b44b-4b83-af91-f7e5e31b370c (old id 2856509)
date added to LUP
2012-07-02 15:53:32
date last changed
2016-04-16 09:25:40
@misc{a7f6a0ef-b44b-4b83-af91-f7e5e31b370c,
  abstract     = {The aim of this chapter is to discuss two different approaches to the studying of cultures – the etic and the emic approaches. The two different approaches reflect not only different views on how cultures ought to be studied, but also to some extent different views on the nature of cultures. The etic approach suggests that it is possible to study cultures from “the outside” and that it is feasible to compare different cultures along standardized, universal and objective dimensions. This perspective unfolds most clearly when using a quantitative methodological approach, such as in the works of the Dutch anthropologist Geert Hofstede. Hofstede is one of the most influential researchers on cultures within certain academic areas, such as managerial cross-cultural studies. The emic approach, on the other hand, claims that each culture is unique, and should not be compared to other cultures. According to this approach, cultures can only be properly understood “from within” and to increase the understanding of a certain culture, qualitative methods such as “thick description” as proposed by the American anthropologist Clifford Geertz, are appropriate. In the chapter, I give an account of theoretical and methodological perspectives implied by the two different approaches and point out strengths and weaknesses. I finally argue that both approaches are justified in cultural research and also that they are possible to combine. However, as a researcher, it is necessary to thoroughly reflect on the basic theoretical and methodological assumptions embedded in the different views on culture.},
  author       = {Magnusson, Susanna},
  editor       = {Katarina, Jacobsson and Katarina, Sjöberg},
  isbn         = {91-7267-340-0},
  keyword      = {emic,etic,Geertz,Hofstede,cultural anthropology},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {109--122},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x7f64458)},
  series       = {Pondering on methods. A variety of methodological concerns.},
  title        = {The studying of cultures -- measuring or immersing?},
  year         = {2012},
}