better voting projections with ethnography
Anthropologist and writer for the Financial Times, Gillian Tett argues that U.S. election polling would have benefited from ethnography: “…pollsters and political pundits need to move beyond their obsession with complicated mathematical models, and participate in more ethnographic research into subtle cultural trends of the sort that anthropologists do.” A letter to the editor, in response to her article, says that sedation of respondents would provide more accurate information about voting preferences, a “truth serum” effect.
Paul Stoller, professor of cultural anthropology at West Chester University, published a piece in The Huffington Post describing some recent hate incidents in the U.S., framing his words as a “letter to our students.” The examples are: incidents in New York City in a supermarket and in a diner, booing of a Gold Star family on a flight, and negative social media during the Presidential Medal of Freedom Ceremony. He concludes by saying: “You can take your knowledge and transform it into practice. You can observe small-scaled interactions and ethnographically describe incidents of hate as well as examples of social tolerance. You can post these descriptions on social media to create an ethnographic record of both intolerance and tolerance that will spread far and wide on the Internet—an anthropology of us.”