We go back to the origins of emic and etic in linguistics and conduct a linguistic and . Poles and Germans: An International Business Relationship. August . emic and etic are terms used by some social scientists to refer to two . the relationship between good people and suffering and that, ultimately, there is divine. In anthropology, folkloristics, and the social and behavioral sciences, emic and etic refer to two Emic and etic are derived from the linguistic terms phonemic and phonetic respectively, which are in turn derived from Greek roots. . (), Language in Relation to a Unified Theory of Structure of Human Behavior (2nd ed.).
Besides explicit or implicit attribution of appropriateness of occurrence in context, emic units may include subsets of other emic units.
Native participants treat those units implicitly as emic, although sometimes they do have names for the particular emic units. Insofar as units are treated differently, they comprise contrastive features that elicit such different perceptions, usages or unconscious reactions by the native participants.
The most common interpretations of this dichotomy include the following sets of opposites: This list is probably not exhaustive. Different information is gained from each form of analysis. For example, Marvin Harris discusses why members of two religions Judaism and Islam do not eat pork. The emic explanation is that the pig is an unclean animal, and so members of these groups develop a distaste for the meat, and religious obedience is perpetuated.
What are the core characteristics of etic and emic in contemporary research? First of all, they draw attention to the importance of the perspective a researcher takes on data. As etic and emic are both operations performed by an observer, they describe something about the relationship between the observer and the subject of investigation. As soon as one refrains from equating etic and emic with other popular dichotomies, they become complementary ways to approach data not alternativesavailable for use in a procedural, even dialectical way.
Etic and emic approaches resulting in etic and emic descriptions are both legitimate aims of research. Depending on these aims, the different procedural steps and their respective methods receive different amounts of attention during the research process. Often the criteria applied to produce the etic or emic description have perceptible, behavioral, and sometimes even extra-cultural features. This allows the etic perspective to be the starting point of analysis.
The scientific observer of an unknown phenomenon has inevitably no other option than to begin with an etic analysis, regardless of whether or not he or she ultimately pursues an emic analysis.
But the criteria employed and the analytic elements produced have a different structure on the system level, which the observer investigates. On this level, the emic units can be described according to their appropriateness. But both etic and emic analysis result in second-order constructs Schutz, The appropriateness is not judged by the native participants, but reconstructed by the analyst, because the relevance structure Schutz, of the emic system of the participants is not necessarily conscious.
This establishes both etic and emic as observer operations. In order to control for completeness and appropriateness of an etic typology, the researcher needs to rely upon preceding emic analysis.
In this section that parallel will be drawn out. Although both of these are often subsumed under the single word ethnography, the second really is a separate step, formally termed ethnology. In his view, the terms describe the different relations between the scientific observer and the thing that is being studied.
Hymes describes the dialectic as follows: The researcher begins by having a sense of the range of behavior across multiple cultures.
Emic and etic
No one enters a culture blind, without presuppositions of what is possible, and so although it seems logical to begin with an emic analysis, that comes second rather than first. But after that description is reasonably complete, it is important to match it with other detailed descriptions of specific cultures or groups, thus moving to the level of comparison again etic The complete pattern may not actually occur in any one culture or group, but it adequately describes what occurs when behavior in multiple cultures or groups is taken into account.
As Hymes points out, there are thus two different types of etic analysis performed: Before entering the field to examine some particular topic, some general sense of the range of possibilities related to that topic should be acquired usually through reading descriptions of multiple cultures or groups similar to the one to be studied.
Once in the field, descriptions of behavior are prepared, but they are modified as a result of knowing what prior descriptions, whether of this group or others, have shown.
Once the period of ethnography, involving intense study, observation, and description is ended, the researcher moves back into the stage of ethnology, matching the description of this one group with descriptions of others, and checking for what might have been missed initially when the focus was circumscribed.
This is one reason why doing ethnographic research well takes time. A good researcher will move between these three stages multiple times in any one study, stopping to consider what other groups do, and returning to the specific group in question to ask further questions that arise as a result of comparison with other cultures and their assumptions.
And analysis of past and present data must always be changed to take new data into account. They then work to translate this meaning from one group of people to another. Ethnographers, whether in anthropology, communication, or education, thus have no choice but to accept the job of translator. In many parts of the world and in some segments of the U. She gave middle-school children disposable cameras to record their perspectives on home life and then used the photographs as the basis for interviews with each child about his or her daily routines and responsibilities.
Rather, they play while working and work while playing Thorne,illustrated by a boy who walks his dog while roller-blading, or by a brother and sister who invent a game for unloading the dishwasher. Professional knowledge workers are encouraged to seek out multiple sources of information for problem solving rather than to rely on traditional lines of authority Fine, When using etic and emic as concepts in research, these core characteristics offer some orientation about how to apply them productively.
The point of this chapter has been to emphasize instead that these are two different perspectives on the same behavior that should be used as alternating ways of understanding.
The concepts were never intended to stand alone. Different information is gained from each form of analysis, so using both in alternation leads to a more nuanced understanding of human behavior, as well as encouraging the consideration of behavior in more than a single culture at a time. Top of page Bibliography Campbell, D. Qualitative knowing in action research.
University of Chicago Press. International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Keeping pace in a hurried culture. An analysis of concepts of pollution and taboo. Individualization, risk and the body: Journal of Sociology, 41 3Glaser, B. The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. Eine rekonstruktion der emic-etic-debatte.
Etic and emic revisited. Kommunikationswissenschaft zwischen historiographie, theorie und empirischer forschung: The challenges of communication 2nd ed.
Almost anything from within a culture can provide an emic account. On its own, an emic approach would struggle with applying overarching values to a single culture.
A Curious Mixture of Passion and Reserve”: Understanding the Etic/Emic Distinction
The etic approach is helpful in enabling researchers to see more than one aspect of one culture, and in applying observations to cultures around the world. History[ edit ] The terms were coined in by linguist Kenneth Pikewho argued that the tools developed for describing linguistic behaviors could be adapted to the description of any human social behavior. As Pike noted, social scientists have long debated whether their knowledge is objective or subjective. Pike's innovation was to turn away from an epistemological debate, and turn instead to a methodological solution.Multilingualism II Lecture
Emic and etic are derived from the linguistic terms phonemic and phonetic respectively, which are in turn derived from Greek roots. Goodenough was primarily interested in understanding the culturally specific meaning of specific beliefs and practices; Harris was primarily interested in explaining human behavior. Some researchers use "etic" to refer to objective or outsider accounts, and "emic" to refer to subjective or insider accounts. She discovered that the difficulties and the transitions that adolescents faced are culturally influenced.
The hormones that are released during puberty can be defined using an etic framework, because adolescents globally have the same hormones being secreted.
However, Mead concluded that how adolescents respond to these hormones is greatly influenced by their cultural norms. Her studies helped create an emic approach of understanding behaviors and personality.
Archetypes are universal structures of the collective unconscious that refer to the inherent way people are predisposed to perceive and process information.