Mini-Ethnography 1 of 2: Understanding folk group today
the first mini-ethnography assignment, you will be asked to write about a folk group and keep in mind that 3 members of this folk group will be interviewed for the second mini-ethnography assignment forthcoming). You may select a group that is either formally or informally defined; for example:
friends that work in the same restaurant
teammates from a sport or academic activity or other club
members of a sorority or fraternity
( Topic I got approved for is a selective group of individuals all 21/22 year old male and females that are working in the Manhattan/New Jersey Area for the Summer but are all best friends and members from Boca Raton, Florida (our hometown). I thought that would be an easy for you to write about because you say ( same high school so much in common ( with mutual friends ), played sports together, vacation, dinner and now where we are today.)
Requirements and structure
Describe the folk group. Describe who is a member(^), what they do, when and where they do it, etc. If possible, provide some idea of how long the group has existed or how it has changed over time. ( You can make it all up )
Identify what kind of group this is and what holds the group together. This portion of the essay will require scholarship on the subject. We are including Dorothy Noyes’s “Group” (scroll to bottom of page). Her article will help you navigate the definitions and approaches in discussing a folk group. For example, how do you reconcile her notion of imagining and performing community on page 26 and following? Cite your sources as appropriate; that is, parenthetically with page numbers after direct quotes and paraphrased statements.
2.Describe three or more examples of group culture ( write whatever you please). These may include shared knowledge, practices or skills that are common within the group, and/or group traditions. Give a succinct account of what each example is and how group members practice or engage with it:
a stories about waiter’s revenge on unruly customers—
e.g. writing incensitive messages on customer’s bill.
in-group vocabulary (slang)—e.g. nurses use of “code brown.”
a way of accommodating dietary needs—e.g. vegan and raw diets or diets for religious observation when on campus or at restaurants.
a ritual of initiation—e.g. newbies on the rugby team performing certain rites on and off the field to prove toughness.
You should also share the history of specific traditions (if applicable) and note if or how they compare to other folk practices mentioned in lecture and readings.
Use the information provided in points 1 and 2 to make a significant and nuanced claim about one of the following aspects of group formation:
how new members enter the group—how membership is “performed” or “enacted” among or for newcomers
how the group or its members engage in exoteric communication—how group folklore is used to communicate to/for/with/about outside groups or non-members
how group boundaries are contested or negotiated—including the ways that issues of boundaries are or are not resolved
how the group and its members manage issues of internal differentiation (hierarchy, rank, status, etc.)—including how status/rank is achieved and displayed, how this affects obligations and privileges, and/or how the group works to avoid a particular imbalance of power.
This essay should be 4 pages long (approx. 1100 words but absolutely no more or no less than 10%). The tone should be academic, but you may use first person when appropriate. Short citations will be appropriate for class readings (author, page) and lecture notes (source, date). Outside sources should receive full documentation in the style of your choice. Please pay attention to all of the following:
Writing mechanics: punctuation, usage, and grammar.
Organization: strong intro, controlling preview of main ideas, clear paragraph organization, transitions between big ideas
Thoughtfulness: major ideas from course, appropriate use of vocabulary, a convincing, significant and nuanced argument
Noyes, Dorothy. 2003. “Group.” In Eight Words for the Study of Expressive Culture edited by Burt Feintuch. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press: 7-41.