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THROUGH NAVAJO EYES: Sol Worth: Chapter08

THROUGH NAVAJO EYES: Sol Worth: Chapter08

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Sol Worth book in several chapters, from http://astro.temple.edu/~ruby/wava/worth/worth.html
Sol Worth book in several chapters, from http://astro.temple.edu/~ruby/wava/worth/worth.html

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Published by: nu_01001110 on Mar 08, 2011
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10/14/2011

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PART THREE
Chapter
8
Analysis
Up to this point we have been concerned with describing specificprocedures and events in the field. We presented an outline ofwork already done, and
a
descriptionof
a
set
of
interrelatedproblems in communications and anthropology which led us tothe work described. Now our task is to analyze the data and relatethem to the problems under study. The procedure and events inthe field are critically important, in our opinion. It is not only thefilms that will be analyzed, but the films in relation to the filmingbehavior we observed: patterns of Navajo social and cognitiveactivities as our students related them to their process of makingfilms. We will consider the films conceived, photographed, andedited by Navajos in the light
of
our field notes which recordedhow we, our students, and the community behaved during theproject. We will also refer to transcribed interviews covering theNavajo students’ conceptions, difficulties, and achievements dur-ing the filmmaking, as well as their explanations of the way theyedited and completed their films.Our analysis draws upon several disciplines: communication,anthropology, linguistics, and cognitive psychology. Hymes
 
Analysis
I33
(1967, 1970)
has recently dwelt on the theoretical problems ofinterdisciplinary research, using linguistics as
a
conceptual para-digm. He correctly points out that the problem is not one ofcombining
a
body of theory in anthropology with
a
body oftheory in another discipline and thus being “interdisciplinary.”Rather
it
is
a
question of certain problems demanding new theo-ries, which (in our case) are not “anthropological” alone or “com-municational” alone. What is needed in our case is what Worthhas called a theory
of
“Codes in Context,” or what Hymes
(1964)
has called the “Ethnography of Communication.”While our analysis is not presented as part of
a
formal theoryof codes in context, we did have such a theory in mind as anorganizing principle for our analysis.Our analysis will be concerned with the following kinds ofquestions:
(I)
Who, in what culture, with what technology, withwhat instruction, and in what conditions or context, can com-municate by means of motion pictures?
(2)
Among those who cancommunicate by means of movies, how do members of somespecific culture organize their communication? Is there a discern-ible pattern or code in the structure of their movies? If
so,
(3)
isit present in such
a
way that others in their own or other culturescan understand or infer meaning from their patterned film pro-ductions?
(4)
If persons in differing cultures can produce filmproductions that are patterned and allow communication to takeplace between filmers and film viewers, what is the relation be-tween the code and the culture in which films are produced andunderstood?These are the sort of questions that
a
theory of codes in contextwould have to elucidate, and we will deal with them in ouranalysis. We have obviously not been able to find definitive an-swers, but our analysis should provide several valuable tools to-ward such answers. First, there
is
a
need to stimulate more workin this area and this report presents the first exposition of
a
methodology designed to assist the development of
a
theory ofcodes in context. Second, this report documents a large range of
 
I34
I
Through
Navajo
Eyes
findings which make
it
possible to begin comparative work acrosscultures using a comparable methodology. Despite the difficultyof generalizing beyond our Navajo experience, enough work hasbeen done by us and by our students to make possible somecomparisons between Navajos, black teenagers, white teenagersand other groups. In
a
concluding chapter we will present datafrom other comparable research that makes
it
clear that certainaspects of filming and filmmaking differ from group to group. Wecan see that persons in different cultures approach the filmingsituation differently and make films that differ on several impor-tant parameters.It is therefore important to recognize that our analysis is notmeant to describe only Navajo films and filming, although westick very closely in this study
to
observations of the Navajo. Ourwork is intended as a paradigm in both a theoretical and a metho-dological sense of how to observe and compare the way groupsgo about communicating
in
the film mode.It is also important to realize that once a method of teachingpeople in other cultures to make films is articuiated and peopleof a different culture prove able to make films amenable to analy-sis, a great variety of complex and controllable possibilities be-come available for research.
A
theory of codes in context such as that underlying what weare doing would suggest testing along homogeneous or hetero-geneous linguistic groups or similarly divided cultural groups tosee
if
the coding and patterning of films follow broad cultural,performance or linguistic patterns, and what their relationshipis to each other and to film.Another broad area of research suggested by our findings isthat
of
“universals” in film communication. That is, do theNavajo films as a group show similar patterns and do they showpatterns similar to films made in other cultures? Conversely,where do the Navajo films differ from one other, and where dothey differ as a group from films made in other cultures?The Navajo learned to put discrete records of image events

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