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Readings (due September 25)

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 2 months ago


To comment on the following readings, please first indicate your name, e-mail address, and the date of your post. Then, add your comments.


Example: [E. Kintz, kintz@geneseo.edu, 8/25]


Hockings, "Filming Body Behavior," "Audiovisual Tools for the Analysis of Culture Style," and "Film in Ethnographic Research"



Type your comments here . . .





[Elen De Oliveira, emd10@geneseo.edu, 9/23]


1. I wonder how many enthographic films can actually be called sources of "primary data" as opposed to films that illustrate. Many of the films that we have discussed in class have been edited in one way or another and are therefore, not sources of primary data. Many people dont realize how involved filming actually is, and how much editing goes into the process.


2. I found the study done on the two women and the range of motion necessary for various expressions of emotions to be really interesting, along with the fact that when asked to guess the emotion, only 1/4 of the participants guessed correctly. The dance example interested me as well because I am a dancer myself.


3. The comparison of human perception and that of recording instruments, cameras and tape recorders, was interesting to read as well. Humans can focus in on one object or happening, and tune out all of the surrounding factors, but a camera does not do that. A person may focus on one thing in the image or film, but everything else in that image or film will be just as focused to anyone else as well at the one person. Which is better to use?




[Larkin Kimmerer, llk5@geneseo.edu, 9/24]


"Audiovisual Tools for the Analysis of Culture Style"

-This was the first I had really heard of choreometrics, and I found it really interesting. The way that entire cultures move is something that we don't often think of, and it is certainly something that only film can really capture. To sit down and try to take notes or even observe a few times a dance, a ritual, or a conversation, one would miss a lot. But being able to film an interaction, for example, that can be watched repeatedly and analyzed, is why film is a great part of ethnographic research.




[Skye Naslund, sjn1@geneseo.edu 9-24-07]


Hockings: “Filming Body Behavior,” “Audiovisual Tools for the Analysis of Culture Style,” “Film in Ethnographic Research”


1-Many people often group many things under the broad title of ethnographic film. In reality however there is a huge difference between illustrative films, films that illustrate what the cameraman and the editor what you to see (such as a documentary) where you see the prearranged images they have created, and data films, unedited films that capture the entirety of an incident in a culture.


2-Many critics of the use of film in anthropology are against film use because of the inherent biases in it. But, while there are always biases, there is always some part of the culture that is overlooked even by the filmmaker and therefore has no bias inserted into it. In other words, there must be some truth to every film, despite the biases because there is more to any image than any person can pick up on.


3-I think it is extremely important to show the interaction between the filmmaker and the people because that is what is really happening. We cannot pretend that the cameraman does not exist inserting another variable hidden from the audience and therefore changing the interpretation of those viewing the film. If the relationship between those who are filming and those being filmed is shown it adds to the ethnographical value of the film in that is leaves less for anthropologists to question.




{Isobel Connors, icc2@geneseo.edu, 9/25}


Hockings: "Filming Body Behavior," "Audiovisual Tools for the Analysis of Culture Style," and "Film in Ethnographic Research"


1.I was surprised to find out that Charles Darwin was experimenting with body behavior. I would be interested to read the results of his experiment with the aged man’s facial expressions.


2.I never thought about the extent to which movement and posture can alter one’s perception. The study of the two women’s limb segment proportions is an extraordinary way of examining human emotion on the physical self.


3.I was quite intrigued by the idea of choreometrics and cantometrics: often, people focus on the aspects that make a culture unique; however, I think it is just as important to focus on what human interactions and expressions are essentially cross-culturally instinctive. Cultural beliefs can also be perceived in this manner. I find it remarkable that, without much, if any, contact between Europe and Asia, such similar religious beliefs emerged. I hope to study this concept in more detail these next few years.





[Dave Roberts, dlr4@geneseo.edu, 9-25]


1.) Humans and animals have been filmed so their movements can be studied, analyzed, broken down. However, not all film is appropriate for this kind of use. Lower film speeds lose details and movement that may be integral iv viewing faster motions and events. For some activities, a film speed of less than 64 frames per second does not accurately capture the subtleties of movement that are so critical in capturing.


2.) I've lightly looked into the past of the "moving picture" and the technologies that birthed it, yet I do not recall ever learning about the "zoopraxiscope," the instrument with the revolving glass plate that Muybridge invented in 1880. I would like to see one of those things sometime and find out how it worked.


3.) I wonder when Lomax wrote "Audiovisual Tools..." his critique of Eurocentrism seems a tad dated. What are these "severe disturbances" in the American school system linked to black people that he speaks of? Not that I doubt they occured, but I am curious as to what he's specifically talking about.






[Steph Aquilina, sma8@geneseo.edu, 9/30]


Hockings, “Filming Body Behavior,” “Audiovisual Tools for the Analysis of Culture Style,” and “Film in Ethnographic Research”


1. Ethology – comparative body language – in terms of expressive facial and gestural behavior is an up and coming area of study. Describing and evaluating filmed patterns of movement and interaction (as functions of geographic location) by mapping out ranges and relating them to corresponding cultural settings would help to clarify the relationship between communication and social structure cross-culturally.

2. I found it extremely interesting that choreometrics and cantometrics can be used as descriptive devices to analyze and compare the movement and musical styles of cultures around the world. Although such representations are generally considered to be qualitative in nature, these systems allow ethnologists to actually measure types of expression in various categories. Stylistic reflection can expose the identification of an individual as a member of a particular culture, and can synchronize the definition of spatial and societal dynamics. Cantometric research has also revealed steady relationships between performance styles and social patterns, in terms of complexity, stratification, politics, complementarity, solidarity, and sexual tension.

3. When discussing ethnographic filming, Timothy and Patsy Asch recommended that the filmmaker interact with the people he is recording as he tapes, joining in the activities captured in the film as he would naturally do. Since filming requires a long history of time invested in building relationships and participating in rituals with the society, it is very important not to deviate from regular behavior when videotaping. In the end, the motion picture will depict events that have not been tainted with atypical formality and self-consciousness.





[Dilek Canakci, dc11@geneseo.edu, 10/04]


Hockings, “Filming Body Behavior,” “Audiovisual Tools for the Analysis of Culture Style,” and “Film in Ethnographic Research”

I found it interesting that Hockings include the appropriateness of interacting with the people that you are filming. It is very rear to see ethnography with the anthropologist asking questions or just interacting with the people. I also learned about choreometrics and thought it was interesting since not many people know about it. It is also very important to capture the film and consider the frames per second because they effect the viewer’s perception of the culture so much.




[Heather Warren, hrw1@geneseo.edu, 10/4]


Hockings, "Filming Body Behavior," "Audiovisual Tools for the Analysis of Culture Style," and "Film in Ethnographic Research"


  1. From the way representational film is described, I really cannot think of ANY film that I have ever scene that would fall into this category except perhaps home films that my parents made when my sister and I were young. Hardly any filming I have ever scene is left unedited or without zooming at the very least.
  2. As to editing breaking up a sequence and thus, taking away the primary source information, I think most of us can attest to this. In fact, we see this on the news all the time. Reporters and news stations are notorious for cutting and pasting together things people have said to make something totally new and un-resembling of the original context.
  3. In Audiovisual Tools…, I think it is interesting that people learned faster from audiovisual training loops that from books. I agree with this since, from my own experience, I often learn things faster by watching and imitating that I do by reading things from a book. I think this is an ability that we evolved in nature since our ancestors had to learn things by imitating their elders, especially considering they had no written language, nor, initially, the ability to write.






[Jennifer Ritzenthaler, jkr5@geneseo.edu, 10/4]


Hockings, “Filming Body Behavior,” “Audiovisual Tools for the Analysis of Culture Style,” and “Film in Ethnographic Research”


1. Recording tools are different than human perception human beings are able to ignore a lot of stimuli that these tools cannot. It helps to obtain a more holistic and inclusive view.


2. Film and ethnographic data are a reflection of the time it is collected, from where, and by whom. Thus it is never entirely objective.


3. A camera should be used as an extension of the ethnographer’s observations. It should go where he or she goes and at waist height. This helps people to ignore the presence of a camera and is still able to obtain data and research effectively.




[Rebecca Coons, rsc2@geneseo.edu, 10/05]

Hockings, “Filming Body Behavior,” “Audiovisual Tools for the Analysis of Culture Style,” and “Film in Ethnographic Research”


- I had never given much thought to the filming of body language or means to use it anthropologically outside of kinesics or reading facial expressions etc, (I'm interested in forensic anthroplogy so movement and stress markers that can be found in our underlying architecture I knew about, but not so much when it relates to film). I liked the audiovisual data which suggests that people can learn faster via audiovisual methods versus reading which makes those books on tape and learning foreign language cartoons seem a lot more beneficial in hindsight, but I guess in some ways it makes sense because our culture is rapidly moving toward a technologically enhanced learning system. It's odd though, because I was always under the impression that reading would stimulate the mind to a much greater extent since it required the use of imagination. It was a pretty neat thing to learn about it from other contexts. I think something should be mentioned that conditioning and repetition are my favorite learning techniques. -END-



[Dan McConvey, dpm5@geneseo.edu, 10/7]


Hockings, “Filming Body Behavior,” “Audiovisual Tools for the Analysis of Culture Style,” and “Film in Ethnographic Research”


It is interesting to see the very large difference between documentaries and pure, unedited films of a culture.  I agree with the idea that the unedited films are more pure but I think one must admit that it really is impossible to capture a culture on film.  Using our own experience with photography or video we are all aware that someone can always add more to the context of the video or photograph if they were right there as it was filmed or taken.  In this way an unedited film might tell us less about the culture in some instances because it can contain so many unanswered loose ends that would otherwise be answered if the ethnographer pieced the film together (through editing) in a more comprehensible storyline fashion.




Charlie Genao cg7@geneseo.edu

 Flimming is useful but it does not cover all aspects of culture especially language. One thing that film can show you is the sematics of a given langauge. Although unedited film is more realistic in a way but it does not capture a culture and all its aspects. Culture is something so big that you need people that are specalize in different areas like linguists and ect.  Film is just a tool to do only part of the job. It is hard to capture non-verbal communacation it is a big part of culture. Although I do agree that a unedited film is the way to go.




[Adam Saunders, ars11@geneseo.edu, 10-9]


Hockings, “Filming Body Behavior,” “Audiovisual Tools for the Analysis of Culture Style,” and “Film in Ethnographic Research”


The two examples of representational film one being used to examine emotional catagories and the other Is  to determine if people have principles to that of their performances as far as structural and emotional catagories. For instance in the emotional catagories how does the structure differ from someone who is “happy’ or “sad” when they are sitting, this is especially relavant when it comes to limb postions.

Ray L. Birdwhistell has an astonishing look into the principles behind communication systems and cultural patterns. According to him there are two streams of communication, informational and referential as well as cross-referencing and identifying.  In the past most studies have focused on only the first part of Birdwhistell’s stream. However, according to him the second part of this holds the majority of the communication space, upwards of 90%.

This communication space is so important because it involves the continuation of communication and characterizes redundancy. It is used to keep the communication flowing and to identify with one another.





(Cameron Mack, cfm6@geneseo.edu, 10/9)


Hockings, "Filming Body Behavior", "Audiovisual Tools for the Analysis of Culture Style", and "Film in Ethnographic Research"


1. This was a unique discussion by the author. I believe Hockings is correct in that the unedited footage of a culture is purer, however, I still believe that there is a place for documentaries. Regardless of the style of production, I don't think that either style gives a culture true justice.

2. I liked the idea of an ethnography using film as an extension of ones study. It shouldn't be the main form of study, but it can be helpful in the further study of a certain culture. Filming is a good example of something that would be good for studying the body language of a group of people.

3. Ethnographic data and other forms of research are objetive in nature. I think that one needs to live within a culture to truly understand its actions. The magic of filmmaking is when you can connect with the audience and show them how a culture lives



[Laurie Sadofsky, las22@geneseo.edu, 10/12]

Hockings, “Filming Body behavior,” “Audiovisual Tools for the Analysis of Culture Style,” “Film in Ethnographic Research”

1. J.H. Prost states that there are two different kinds of film, illustrative and primary data.  The first has less ethnographic quality.

2. I agree with Patsy and Timothy Asch stress on the importance of spending a long time in the field before even attempting to film.  This will minimize the amount of “formality” and “self-consciousness” seen on camera.

3. They believe the best anthropological research will result in a collection of field notes, transcripts, pictures and film. 






[Anne Kim, ak13@geneseo.edu, 10/13]


Hockings, "Filming Body Behavior," "Audiovisual Tools for the Analysis of Culture Style," and "Film in Ethnographic Research"


        1.       Prost differentiates between the film to illustrate and the film to document, as in primary data. What I was concerned about as I was reading this segement of the book was that there are many filmmakers that produce a film that is meant to be primary data but in the end, becomes moreso an illustrative document. I believe, this difference is big, but very hard to separate and can get easily misinterpreted.

        2.       Lomax describes in his writing that ethnographic films are only gathered from written accounts, which is why many viewers now feel indifferent towards them now. Furthermore, he adds that in order to better this, one must film the interaction and movement and connect them to their social and cultural settings.

        3.       P. Asch and T. Asch discuss the controversial questions of ethnographic film. They discuss the unclarity of film making due to objective and subjective misinterpreations. However, despite the difficulty in film-making, the writers state that visual data has an advantage over written data for it shows spatial and temporal relations.





[Dan Lilly, djl5@geneseo.edu, 10/14]




Editing is a very tricky thing. I remember watching a clip of a Yanomamo dispute when I took Anth 100. The entire thing was filmed on one camera that was rather far from the actual events. I kept waiting for it to switch to a different angle or a closer camera, but all I got was a little zoom and panning in either direction. The good thing about this is that you know what you're seeing is one consistent timeline with no gaps. When I'm watching an interview on tv or something like that, every time the camera switches I start to wonder whether or not they cut anything out.


I read in an article in 9th grade (I had to look it up because I couldn't remember the number, its called Bad Attitude by Vincent Ruggerio) that during the average hour of TV, attention shifts, which are basically an edit to a different shot, happen around 800 times. That's some heavy editing.






[Jonathon Baker, jlb22@geneseo.edu, 10/15]



Hockings:  “Filming Body Behavior:  Audiovisual Tools for the Analysis of Culture Style, Film in Ethnographic Research”

1.  Never realized all this stuff was so damn complicated to be honest, but I guess it’s interesting to see how different contexts and cultures will produce very different postures in different situations, as we saw in the narrator in the Yanomamo Twin Cycle Myth video.


 2.  I thought the tests done on the dancers of the tour en l’air was interesting, very heavy into anatomy and physics, which is something that I’m a bit familiar with.  Observations like this certainly can help athletes realize just how important form and posture is when performing athletic moves and events.


 3.  Same goes for the sound/dance portion of the text as I stated in #1 for the body behavior portion of the text.  It’s amazing to me how much research into the science of dance and song has been done and compared on a  cultural level.  Wouldn’t it be cool if someday we could trace the evolution of dance and song all the way back to the first human cultures much like we trace our physical characteristics.





[Shamiran Warda, sw11@geneseo.edu 10/17]

Hockings:  “Filming Body Behavior:  Audiovisual Tools for the Analysis of Culture Style, Film in Ethnographic Research”


I found the study on posture very interesting, especially in how they were comparing a young twelve year old girl’s postures with that of a twenty-six year old women. I never thought posture was this important especially in film. Another thing I found fascinating was how much film has changed Muybridge, Marey and Darwin time. With that process that the book mentions, I sure wouldn’t want to make any films, but yet again a film often times can be worth all that work if at the end it does indeed help in preserving a culture.  As for what Alan Lomax wrote, I must say I do agree when he stated that “Too often ethnographic films merely illustrate or supplement written accounts and analyses or serve as a substitute filed experience”.  Little work is indeed seen on the actually written accounts and analysis and this is sad because often times these sources hold more information than often times imaged. When written accounts and analyses are illustrated more in ethnographic films than film has just became a stronger research tool in learning more about various people and in general about the past. However, when film is used as a research tool one must be cautious because it might contain some bias aspects because everyone is raised to be subjective. -END-




[Kaitlyn Northrop, krn3@geneseo.edu, 9/25]
1.)   I thought that it was interesting how they talked about filming and how the camera man had to be aware of what the subject was doing at all times because they are less likely to manipulate what is occurring in an ethnographic film.
2.)   I thought the way they talked about the parts of the body and how they related to the film was interesting. I never would have thought that body parts would need to be filmed differently to get their full effect.
3.)   Body behavior and filming go hand in hand. Without the body language a film would not be interesting. Body language can make or break a film, this is if a film had no words, the viewer would still be able to figure out what was going on based on the language of the subjects body.

[Lanh Nguyen, Ltn2@geneseo.edu, 10/22]

Hockings: Filming...Audiovisual...Ethnogrpathic Research…


1. Similar to the position of the camera and its angels, how film makers crop their subjects into the lens matters greatly. Cropping creates illusions, while on the other hand hides unwanted things.

2. Media is used today to publicize the ‘trendy’ while disregarding the traditions of the culture. Radio, television, and films are all a source for this kind of exploitation.

3. Narrations throughout ethnographic films are considered the film text/research film because it reveals what is being observed with the researcher’s thoughts and findings. This is often times subjective rather than objective—Bias view



Alfred Dilluvio

ajd12@geneseo.edu 9/22


1. The study on posture interested me as well. I am not surprised that posture plays an important role in your perception of individuals. Certain cultural groups adopt certain postures and a careful understanding of how to film a subject will increase the value of the film.


2. Body movements have unbelievable cultural value. They betray the subject's feelings even when they arent speaking. An understanding of the most effective ways to capture the entire body during movements will increase the audience's understanding.


3. I just finished the exam where I stated that the best ethnographic film involves no narration from the maker of the film. Such narration may only detract from an unmitigated understanding of the events in front of the camera. The person in the film should control all the rights to our perception of them. Narrations are often influential in determining how we percieve someone.


[Geni Beninati, gb3@geneseo.edu, 10/22]

Hockings: Filming Body Behavior, Audiovisual Tools, Finl in Ethnographic Research


1) Lomax believes that “all communication is multi channeled, continuous, flowing interchange dependent upon learned and formally organized systems.”


2) A representational film is a film in which the reproduction is a fairly accurate representation of the original occurrence- the purpose is data retrieval.


3) A film that qualifies as primary data is not at all edited and is taken from an actual event.




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