Construction of Sexuality

Construction of Sexuality


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Construction of Sexuality

Culture and Ethnography

The author argues that culture constitutes knowledge, which in turn influences behavior. For a person to understand and know a different culture, he or she has to learn it by interacting with the people of different cultures. The author points out how people understand more about a culture when they seek to learn and interact with the people. Observation is merely part of the learning process and does not consist of the entire process. Observation can only enable a person learn little concerning another culture. The author also examines the importance of avoiding ethnocentrism when learning different cultures. Ethnocentrism has a negative effect on culture since a person will only see another culture based on his or her own understanding of that culture. Ethnocentrism limits what a person can learn, and it distorts the culture learning process. Culture constitutes knowledge and not behavior. The knowledge that a person acquires is the one that influences behavior. The author has used different examples to present his arguments. He has illustrated how integrating in a community of interest enables a person to learn more about the culture. This is different from observation, which does not enable a person to seek clarification or deeper meaning of what he or she sees.

This article relates to my life and the experiences I have had in different ways. When interacting with a person from a different culture, I tend to look at that person from my own understanding. I use my own cultural knowledge to view that person, and that cultural knowledge might be different from the other person’s knowledge. I miss the opportunity of understanding that person more, since I use my own perspective. This leads to misunderstanding since I do not understand why a person behaves the way that he or she does. This does not happen only with people from different cultures. For instance, I do not have the same cultural knowledge as my parents, and I do not understand their intentions when we argue about something. We often see some things from different perspectives since we have different knowledge on the issue. This knowledge determines the way we behave.

Fieldwork on Prostitution in the Era of AIDS

The author argues on the necessity of integrating oneself in the culture of interest in an attempt to know and understand that culture. As a researcher in ethnography, a person approaches a situation with no prior knowledge and an open mind so that he or she can gather all the information necessary. This enables the researcher to learn more about that culture. Using defined means of research provides researchers with a way of structuring the research, but does not enable them to get the information that they are searching or gain an understanding in their area of research. The author uses the research she conducted, which concerned prostitution. When conducting the research, she mingled and interacted with the prostitutes. She not only observed how they worked, but she also talked to them and asked them questions. She entered into the world of prostitution by befriending the women involved in prostitution and the pimps who provided the women with the opportunities they needed to do their business.

With a limited area in the field of prostitution, the article made me realize how misinformed I was concerning prostitutes and prostitution. It made me reflect on the ideas I had about prostitution. It also made me examine the sources, which provided me with information from prostitution. The article enabled me to realize that I have very little information concerning prostitution and that the information I have concerning the issue is distorted. After reading the article, it is clear that there are different reasons why people choose to engage in prostitution. Prostitutes face many challenges as they do their work. They suffer under the hands of the law, their pimps, and their customers. They have to have the knowledge of system manipulation so that they can get more benefits. Some prostitutes do not think that they have any other means of earning an income. The author showed how school textbooks and education do not prepare people for everything in life. This relates to the experiences I have had since I have been in situations I did not know how to handle, despite having sufficient knowledge in that area.


Spradley, James and David W. McCurdy. “Culture and Ethnography” and “Ethnography and Culture”. Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2007

Sterk E. Claire. “Fieldwork on prostitution in the era of AIDS.” Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2007



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