Within the fieldwork of post-modernism theory states that the individual’s own experience can never be replicated, also-known-as the crisis of replicability. Take for instance the image featured above of the blind men who are feeling each a different part of the elephant. Each man feels, smells, hears something different the person next to him. This same premise is done within field research, each and every person has the own unique understandings of the world around them. When conducting fieldwork, it is important to think about the voice of the individual(s) represented. In order to provide a good and accurate fieldwork, one has to triangulate, which is when you receive descriptions and explanations from all different viewpoints. In today’s society, you can produce triangulation just by going into social media platforms and read the comments from all different walks of life.
Take for instance the following the controversial post of Woods Cross High School, Utah student, Keziah Daum. Keziah posted on Twitter her prom dress which was a traditional Chinese dress even though she is not of Chinese descent. The vast amount of responses to this twitter post demonstrate how each and every person has their own unique viewpoints. One post supported Keziah’s dress and said that it is “cultural appreciation” (Chen). Another person said that their culture is not Keziah’s dress. These posts are examples of how one can triangulate through the use of social media. Thousands of comments can be made on just one image, one post, one song, and each comment is just one view of the content of which is happening.
As an anthropologist, you need to embrace the contradictions and controversial points of view in order to get a better and fuller understanding of the world around you. Not only can this be done by physically doing this in person but also through written documentation, such as history and news, but also in more recent times such as social media comments.
By Kate Grabowski
Chen, Stacy. “Teen Defends Chinese Prom Dress That Sparked Cultural Appropriation Debate: ‘I Would Wear It Again’.” Yahoo! News, Yahoo!, 2 May 2018, http://www.yahoo.com/gma/teen-defends-chinese-prom-dress-sparked-cultural-appropriation-110304598–abc-news-fashion-and-beauty.html.