It is a branch of anthropology which entails qualitative recording and analyzing of culture and society usually based on participant observation i.e. spending more time with the targeted people or society which they are studying. Therefore, writing a scientific description of the society and its culture (Caton, 201). It mainly depends on the information description of the people’s social life and culture. It requires your (ethnographer) presence on the field because it can neither be done from the library nor use online research. In Steven Canton’s book, which he named Ethno-memoir because it is a combination of memory, his field notes, diary entries and autobiographies, he described the series of events that he experienced while at Yemen and this Ethno-memoir offers a holistic ethnographic contextualization of the public functions of tribal poetry. It entails ethnographic account in a village in Yemen. He was deeply involved in the dispute between the asylum and the local tribe over the case of two girls abducted by the Sanctuary members. This involvement landed him in a Yemen jail, but he was later released. Poetry features as the principal means of conflict mediation. Twenty years later, Steven went back to Yemen to restore want had happened and to visit the tribesman’s son who protected and assisted him in his poetry study. Ethnography has a positive impact on both the ethnographer and the individuals who are under study. First, it creates a mutual relationship between the two parties because one puts their socio-cultural views aside and tries to fit into the others views. Secondly, it has reduced or rather closed the gap between people’s social life and culture, enabling people to understand the real meaning and values of different customs, socio-cultural activities. This study besides its importance, ethnographers do face challenges while doing the fieldwork. Observer’s own understand, judges the people under study, i.e. researcher bias, changes that are as a result of interaction i.e. impact of the researcher. Other difficulties include, people under observation can at times become manipulative and ethical issues during the research.
Caton, Steven. “Yemen Chronicle: An Anthropology of War and Mediation (New York: Hill and Wang, 2005).” See also Paul Dresch, A Modern History of Yemen: 201.