Field notes from Efate Vanuatu

Ethnographic study notes

cyclone damage Port Vila

I am currently staying in Port Vila, on Efate island, Vanuatu. Port Vila is the capital port of Vanuatu. As part of my case study I have been surveying some of the local students studying on the TVET campus about  their use of technology for study and leisure.

I have decided to adopt an ethnographic approach as part of my qualitative research for this case study so that I can understand and describe the culture and how technology is part of their lives. This kind of inquiry will lead me beyond simply investigating the impact of technology in this part of Vanuatu, it will also contribute to my development as an insightful, and introspective cultural explorer.

Ethnography has been situated within cultural anthropology, early fieldwork scholars included Margaret Mead, Bronislaw Malinoski, and Clifford Geertz. Adopting ethnography as a qualitative research method helps to describe and to understand a way of life from the local people’s point of view. As Malinowski put it, is

The goal is briefly, to grasp the native’s point of view, his relation to life, to realize his vision of his world.” (Malinoski, 1922,p.25, 

According to James Spradley,

Ethnography offers us the chance to step outside of our narrow cultural backgrounds, to set aside our socially inherited ethnocentrism, if only for a brief period, and to apprehend the world from the viewpoint of other human beings who live by different meaning systems” (preface, 1979).

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