ERIC Number: ED184958
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Mar-14
Culture Shock and Anthropological Fieldwork.
Barker, David Read
The document reviews literature on the effects of culture shock and suggests reasons that anthropological writings seldom deal with the subject. Definitions of culture shock begin with the writings of anthropologist Kalvero Oberg, who first introduced the term in the mid 1950s. Oberg wrote that culture shock is precipitated by the anxiety that results from losing all our familiar signs and symbols of social intercourse. Other authors note that it is a massive psychic reaction creating stress responses of frustration, anxiety, helplessness, irritation, fear, and homesickness. Culture shock has been described in terms of stages and curves. Oberg's four stages include fascination with novelty, hostility, beginning of adjustment, and acceptance of the customs of the country. Several studies have attempted to correlate culture shock with occupational, situational, experiential, and personality variables. The major occupational groups studied include technical assistants, foreign students in the United States, Peace Corps volunteers, and tourists. Several reasons exist for the lack of anthropologists' descriptions of their own experiences with culture shock: the tradition emphasizes publication of the results of fieldwork with little emphasis on the method; by the time field notes are developed into publications, most fieldworkers have gone through adjustment and are at their normal level of emotional equilibrium; and the pain of culture shock is offset by the challenge and excitement of fieldwork. (Author/KC)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research (6th, Mount Pocono, PA, March 14, 1980).