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The Changing Culture of Rural Barbados

            As an anthropologist begins his or her journey in exploring a culture different" from his or her own, he or she must attempt to view it through a culturally relative lens. This entails one to leave their own beliefs and practices at the door and embody another culture's daily life, faith, rituals, and language. Such is easier said than done for our predisposed judgments and opinions have become involuntary thoughts. However, the most efficient way for an anthropologist to accomplish understanding a different culture avoiding any trace of ethnocentrism is to partake in anthropological fieldwork. Anthropological fieldwork includes applying oneself fully to a culture foreign to what they consider to be their own culture. In doing so, the anthropologist is able to experience the culture first hand and would then be able to publish an authentic ethnography based on their first hand involvement with the every day living and the essence of the people belonging to that culture. An ethnography is a literary piece written to explain and inform others on the multiple dimensions of a culture other than that of the author. An ethnography has the potential to capture the heart of a culture, given the experiences of the anthropologist are congruent with the genuine everyday lifestyles of the inhabitants. .
             The Parish Behind God's Back: The Changing Culture of Rural Barbados is an ethnography written by Sharon Bohn Gmelch and George Gmelch that documents their first hand experiences with Bajans belonging to the church during the twentieth century. This ethnography specifically highlights the details of the political scene, religious lifestyle, and the effects of various socioeconomic class and geography in the rural areas of Barbados. The husband and wife anthropologist pair applied a holistic approach in studying the Bajans and their relationship to the church, the community, and to each other.

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