Cultural Anthropologist Says ‘Just Being There’ Isn’t Enough
A lot of what passes for ethnography today probably shouldn’t.
cultural discoveries at BBDO Worldwide, author of ‘Advertising and Anthropology’
and visiting professor at Fordham University’s Center for Positive Marketing.
Malefyt, a bona fide anthropologist. ‘This only acts to dilute the quality of research
out there, and it also introduces some bad practices.’
The problem, he says, is that most ethnography today doesn’t
go much beyond ‘just being there”basically watching, peppered with a few
This isn’t ivory tower snobbery. Malefyt says it boils down
to more than just a semantic distinction between genuine anthropology and perhaps
a more accessible version of observational consumer research.
is insufficient rigor and really no use of models of consumer behavior to analyze
what’s going on and actually lead to creative
rolling in her grave aside, it’s probably worth considering that a PhD in
anthropology is a credential many commercial practitioners of ethnography honestly
can’t lay claim to.
Research Insighter podcast series, Malefyt discusses:
place October 21-23 in Nashville, TN.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR/INTERVIEWER
Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s sr. editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @mdrezz.