Ethnography of Pilot (Edit) Beginning

Ethnography of a Pilot


This particular of ethnography is ethnosemantics, a way to gather information about a culture a through language. Interviewing, is a great way to accomplish this. What makes ethnographic interview different from a typical interview style is the questions. Ethnographer asks the questions while the interviewee, also known as informant, responds by teaching a culture to the ethnographer. Questions asked in an ethnographic style are not leading, this is called an open ending question.

Through ethnography students learn a cultural perspective different from the insider’s point of view. When conducting an ethnography it is important to choose a culture that the student knows little to nothing about, this allows the student to approach the ethnography with less bias to the culture in research.

Through these series of interviews culture is gathered and categorized into charts called taxonomies and paradigms which will appear later in the paper. Ethnocentricism, the belief that your culture is superior to all others, sometimes presents a challenge for the ethnographer. We overcome this obstacle by keeping an open mind at all times.

Culture is everywhere we look. This ethnography will focus on a particular type of subculture called micro culture. Micro culture:

Examples of microculture include, being a university student, hunting, and long boarding.

Learning cultural differences is a pathway toward the elimination between one another.

The inside of an airplane is small and enclosed and not favorable to anyone who fears being unable to control the situation, and they’ve found them selves in one, where huge compost material object is about to be 35,000 feet in there air and they are still going to be inside. Though they’re feet are one the floor of the cabin, they are nowhere near the ground. So we’re going to want to trust the person in charge, and who is that, anyway? You are ready to meet the Captain and First Officer, but not just yet.


Finding An Informant


First, I had to get the idea for a micro culture from somewhere.  My sister skies competitively. That wasn’t going to work because I knew all about skiing, what I didn’t know was the competitions- this still held me to close to the microculture. We were to look to someone we knew, who was participating in an established culture we knew little or nothing of. Remembering a friend who was going to be a fitness trainer, I called her up. And asked her to be my informant. And everything was great.

The problem were the words “going to be” This wasn’t someone who had  been in a culture long enough to be considered establish, this was someone who was just starting out. I had to find someone else, or I would struggle to form a structure that did not exist yet. 

It was three days before the 1st interview and I’m sitting in the back of class in a sudden panic realizing I have no informant and no one to interview. An idea came to me but the time to ask nicely had already passed.  At home that weekend I said, Dad: “You’ve been a pilot for 30 years I’ll be interviewing you for the next eight weeks.”

Then I bought a voice recorder and we proceeded with our first interview that weekend.

(Add Background)

The knowledge I walked away with was incredible. Then intense. Then overwhelming. There was no telling what was going to happen with it all. My informant answered every question I had to the best of his ability and hung in there when I asked non-ethnographic questions such as: How many planes do you think, um, United owns? He could have told me to go to the base and count them myself.



Captain and first officer. These are the guys who pilot major commercial airplanes. They can take us to Tokyo, Atlant, LA, Wilksperrre, Brussels, Soule, Anywhere.

(Flight Breakdown)


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