Ethnography Edit: Writing Assignment 1: Introduction

Fitness Training: Confidence, healthy lifestyle, strong, empowerment, community.

Ali and I met at church when we were twelve. The best part of church was when the Pastor said the benediction and the two of us ran out the door to coffee hour. There were donuts, always donuts, at coffee hour.

As the years went on my childhood friend struggled with her weight. It is 10 years later and she is 140 pounds lighter. I saw a change in Ali, not just physically. There was a spark in her eyes and a passion for fitness so intense I became intrigued to know more about went into such a routine. I asked her to be an informant for the Ethnographic Methods class I was currently taking.

            Ethnography involves the study of people. If you have ever wondered how members of a gym communicate,  (By hearing them we can say they have their own type of lingo), or how fitness trainers decide what workout to do for a specific day, or what they consider to be healthy eating- that’s the kind of culture an Ethnographer explores. Ethnography is learning a culture different from your own, from the inside out.

            Personal training is becoming more and more popular as a routine weight loss option. As obesity in America soars, the need for personal trainers is growing rapidly. Setting up specialized workout routines, creating healthy food options, spending time at the gym and teaching workout classes make fitness trainers always on the go.

            How it works is there is an informant, who will be the person you are studying, the person you are deriving information from, learning, earning experience from; you will be learning his/her ways. Being an ethnographer is tough, people lie if they become uncomfortable, to mislead, to avoid difficult questions.This makes clarity and accuracy difficult for you, the interviewer. You structure questions or “manipulate” questions to determine the truth of you informants information.            

Micro-culture is basically a culture within a culture. In Ethnographic methods the Ethnographer seeks an engaging interaction with someone from a micro-culture. It is their job to learn about you, your ways and put that knowledge to practice by immersing themselves into your culture. Ethnography studies culture in a broader sense as well. It’s what makes Chinese people different from Japanese even though they are in the same region. It makes the United States different from Great Britain even though they both speak English, and so on. It’s their ideas, customs, and language, traditions that are associated with any group of people. Everyone belongs to a culture, everyone belongs to more than one, whether they realize it or not.


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