How to Detect Culture and Its Effects

Pamela Ballinger

in The Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780199270439
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Political Science

How to Detect Culture and Its Effects

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This article considers ways to detect culture or identify culture and its effects. It offers a historical overview of how scholars have treated culture in order to suggest that in reconnecting and detecting the social and the cultural in our analyses, both anthropologists and political scientists may find that ‘old theories’ and ‘second editions’ point to more effective ways of taking account of culture. It explains that traditional means by which anthropologists have studied culture has been through field research because they believed that fieldwork is synonymous with participant-observation. Detecting culture requires heeding our senses in order to contextualize the realms in which social practices and their symbolic representations operate.

Keywords: culture; anthropologists; political scientists; field research; participant-observation; contextualization; social practices

Article.  8822 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Political Institutions

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