This essay will explore the anthropological work of Philippe Bourgois's bookIn search of respect.The book is an ethnographic study of social marginalisation amongst a predominately Puerto Rican community living in El Barrio, a neighbourhood in East Harlem, New York. Bourgois spend five years living in the community and compiling his work on the lives of Puerto Rican drug dealers, their friends and girlfriends (Bourgois, 2003).
The essay will focus on how Bourgois has used both scientific and humanistic perspectives in his study and will outline the methods he has used to come to these perspectives. This will be done by first defining both the scientific and humanistic approaches; showing his reasons for undertaking this particular research and chosen methods of study; outline how he has examined cross cultural patterns and also looked at the specific patterns within El Barrio; show the naturalistic and emotive language he uses; and finally will come to the conclusion that Bourgois has used a dualistic approach of both methods and that overall he has encompassed a more humanistic element within his research.
The scientific approach is one that is primarily based upon the acquisition of objectives facts or reasons for why particular cultures function the way they do (Peoples & Bailey, 2009, pp. 79-90). Concepts are used within a framework of naturalistic language. It looks at the similarities and differences with changing cultures; how these are affected by the environment they are set in; examines cross cultural patterns; and based on the results, generates scientific generalizations.
The humanistic approach is based more upon interpreting the significance of the reasons why cultures function the way they do (Peoples & Bailey, 2009, pp. 79-90). It aims to gain an understanding of the subjective actions of the culture, particularly in a holistic or inter-dependent way. It looks at