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SALVAGE ETHNOGRAPHY Ethnography is a qualitative research method that is used by anthropologists to describe a culture Culture has many definitions but usually consists of origins values roles and material items associated with a particular group of people Ethnographic research therefore attempts to fully describe a variety of aspects and norms of a cultural group to enhance understanding of the people being studied When engaged in ethnography the researcher must convert the complex experience of fieldwork to words in a notebook and then transform those words into other words shifted through analytic methods and theories The promise of ethnographic film is that it might provide an alternative way of perceiving culture-perception constructed through the lens Salvage Ethnography can be said to be the capturing of an authentic culture thought to be rapidly and inevitably disappearing Film is most effective in representing the performative aspects of culture defined in the broadest sense - political performances religious rituals aesthetic endeavors of the most diverse kinds the symbolic aspects of everyday life It is also particularly good at giving some idea of what these experiences mean to those who participate in them This it does by showing the emotional or psychological impact that these experiences have or by providing the protagonists with the opportunity to give their own explanations about them Robert Flahertys Nanook of the North is a true classic of ethnographic film The principle behind ethnographic film in the early days of its existence was to capture traditional societies in time a sort of salvage ethnography In creating his silent masterpiece Flaherty used actors of Inuit extraction who still knew the traditional ways and who could reproduce their culture for posterity through film Nanook remains a warm account of traditional InuitEskimo life despite their frigid setting In The Silent Enemy director H P Carver employed an all-native cast to tell the tale of an Ojibway warrior Baluk The film begins with Chief Chetoga in a
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