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Extended Essay

2118 words - 9 pages

The ability of women to have equal rights in the United States has long been a debated issue. A right addressed by international law, until recently, has not been given to American women, while some critics believe women still do not have equal rights to this day. However, elsewhere, women of other countries, i.e. Saudi Arabia, face far less rights then the women of America. To fully understand the many factors involved in the fight for equal rights for women in America, the purpose of this anthropological investigation is to answer the following research question: Did the cultural traits and processes of cultural change for American women inflicted by the World War II era ...view middle of the document...

To the contrary, it is through analyzing the purpose of these events in order to fully grasp the cultural traits and process of change. Overall, this is why historical particularism is an accurate approach to the research question.

In order for precision, it is wise to outline the methodologies for ethnography for this investigation:

Historical particularism is an approach to understanding the nature of culture and cultural changes of particular people. It is not a particular methodology. Boas argued that the history of a particular culture lay in the study of the individual traits of a particular culture in a limited region. After many different cultures have been studied in the same way within a region, the history of individual cultures may be reconstructed… To this end, Boas and his students stressed the importance of gathering as much data as possible about individual cultures before any assumptions or interpretations are made regarding a culture or cultural change within a culture.

Contrary to Boas’ statement, attaining profuse amounts of data for the investigation will transform into an issue for the investigation. Likewise, seeing how the investigation isn’t based off of fieldwork, but rather theory, most forms of the copious amount of data would not be relevant. For example, research such as observations or personal interviews would not be present; alternatively, common public studies made by highly recognized institutes such as the government, which is a common ethnographic used in anthropological investigations, will be used. And finally, uncommon forms of anthropological research that will be used are statistics – not to inform but to help analyze common trends.

Furthermore, in order to thoroughly address all aspects of the research question, the collected evidence has been organized in chronological order. The areas of research consist of the following points in history: 1) Pre-World War II, 3) World War II, 4) post World War II, and 5) feminism today.

Limitations and Premises
Before cultural traits and the process to attain cultural change can be analyzed, the term “culture” must first be defined:

Franz Boas defined culture as a set of customs, social institutions and beliefs that illustrate any specific society. His argument addressed cultural differences as not due to race, but rather to differing environmental conditions and other “accidents of history.” Further, cultures had to be viewed as fusion’s of differing culture traits which developed in different space and time.
Therefore, in order to analyze the cultural traits of women in American society, in some cases, their social and economic equality will be compared to that of men’s.

Some limitations, or otherwise addressed as criticism by Lewis and Berry, of historical particularism categorizes cultural groups and in making preconceived generalizations:

Most of the criticism of historical particularism has arisen over the issue of data collection and fear of...

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