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Be an Anthropologist, Research Paper Example

Pages: 3

Words: 955

Research Paper

Introduction

This paper examines a cultural scene, based upon a coffee shop on a military base, and the activities that take place from the lens of anthropology.  This based upon personal observations of the daily activities in the coffee shop ‘ Green Beans’.  The objective illustrates how a single daily event broadly encapsulates many different facets of anthropology.

Case Study | Coffee Shop Observation

Green Beans is a small coffee shop that serves the personnel on a Military base.  As you enter the coffee shop you get the aroma of freshly ground coffee beans. There are two servers that are smiling at people and one of them is chatting to a young lady officer.  The atmosphere here is very informal and it is clearly a place where people stop to meet and engage one another in conversation.  There are a diverse range of military personnel using the coffee base and this seems a perfect place to relax,  talk about news events and indulge in social conversation.  Two soldiers are sitting at a table  and reading the Stars and Stripes newspaper; the reading periodically interrupted to take gulps of their coffee.  Another young man is using a cell phone to text messages to his girlfriend and occasionally has the odd giggle to himself; he appears very relaxed and entertained.

The coffee shop has been enabled for wireless networking and they have cards that offer the free connection username and password. There are a number of people with laptop computers. Some are busily writing up routine reports whilst others are using the internet to send e-mails or engage in online chat with distant family members.  Every now and again you here the rumbling of the coffee grinder and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee percolates the atmosphere proving a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Anthropological Connections

Family / Society –  Humans by nature are social animals and like to engage in activities together.  This is evidenced by the Café becoming a meeting place whereby people can meet up, engage in conversations and use technology to have conversations with friends and families using computers in a convivial atmosphere.  Humans need this interaction in order to develop grow and feel part of a community.  The armed forces in themselves are a type of community and the Café reinforces the boding in a social setting.  When serving away at a military base it is important for personnel to keep in touch with their main family group and maintain the bonding with wives, husbands and children.  Social Media and the internet has enabled this via the use of Webcam technology, software applications like Facebook and the use of E-Mail.  People will be happy to talk with strangers and others that will expand their circle of friends and acquaintances in order to create more social diversity.  The reading of Newspapers and other media help to extend the range of coverage in terms of maintaining currency of news in human affairs. The reading of Stars and Stripes indicates a narrowed focus to interest in the military family group.

Lifestyle –  Café’s have become the new trendy setting for rendezvous and meeting other people. They set a lifestyle image and people like to be associated with being chic and modern in outlook and approaches to society.  Busy people also look for places where they can wind down and relax for a while from busy routines.  The atmosphere of the coffee shop appeals to the senses, together with the buzz of other people who are engaged by the friendly and welcoming atmosphere of the coffee shop.

Framing of  society –  The concept of social anthropology enables you to explore a diversity of different events and concepts. These include items as social interaction, violence or conflicts,  ritualistic or symbolic behaviour, gender relations, kinship etc.  The Café illustrates social interaction through the different people meeting to talk and engage in conversation.  Kinship by the young lady talking to the waitress who has become a friend over time.  Ritualistic behaviour may be evidenced by the ritualistic use of technology i.e. computers and mobile phones in order to connect with other family and friends.

Lineage –  Man can trace his ancestry back to the Apes.  The apes were known for living in social groups and bonding together in close communities.  They were equally very protective of these groups and would collectively fight off any intruders that threatened the group.  This behavioural trait was carried on through the early cave dwellers of man and as such became an important part of our lineage as being social animals. (Darwin, C. 2007)

Language –  English has now been widely accepted as the universal language being used on Earth.  This was populated by the British Empire that literally spanned the globe and more recently by the USA as the leading western democracy.  The café shows most peoplec speaking in English and most of the technology i.e. Computers and phones are primarily oriented towards the use of  English as the prime means of communication.

Culture –  We are now a very diverse nation of people and the human race is truly becoming globalized through marriage between people of different origin and cultural background. Places like the USA and UK have been built around an immigrant population. This has expanded the degree of diversity and cultural interaction / knowledge between people.  The café illustrated people of  caucasian, black, hispanic and native american ancestry.  They are now recognized as being of one people i.e. Citizens of the United States.  Together they proudly serve their country in the armed forces and this has provided them with a strong social bond and means of class identity . (Lassiter, L.E. 2006)

References

Charles Darwin, C. Z. (2007). The Descent of Man. London: Penguin.

Lassiter, L. E. (2006). Invitation to Anthropology. Oxford: Alta Mira Press.

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