Ethnography is the study of present-day social institutions as well as the crafts and artistic skills of people. Example is the collaboration of festivals, the process of making pottery, beads, weaving, construction etc.
ADVANTAGES/IMPORTANCE OF ETHNOGRAPHY
- Understand the Present Day Technology: The conclusions drawn from the study and examination of these institutions and artefacts in examination of these institutions and artefacts in their present form help towards fully understanding and explain the past’s influence on the formation of present skills/techniques.
- Understand the Past: The conclusions drawn from the study and examination of these institutions and artefacts in examination of these institutions and artefacts in their present form help to fully understand and explain the past.
- Study Festivals: Ethnography provides a useful opportunity to study Africa rituals and festivals which are mainly re-enactment of historical event (for example, the performance of the warriors during the Egungun festival of the Yoruba). Also, if the performance by the Alaketu (ruler of Ketu) during his installation demonstrate a play-back of the experiences of the first Alaketu in establishing Ketu state. Similarly, among the Ewes the Hogbetsotso festival is celebrated annually to commemorate their exodus and liberation from the tyrannical rule of Togbui Agorkoli I of Notsie.
DEMERITS OF ETHNOGRAPHY
- Not easy to get meanings: One of the defects of ethnography is the study of present day social institution does not give the exact meanings to some traditional practices. The fast modernization and westernization of our traditional values may have swept away some important aspect of our cultural heritage.
- Tracing ancestry: Africans are able through ethnography to trace their ancestry or record some important events like Homowo, Hogbetsotso, Egungun festival.
- Influence of religions: Introduction of Christianity and Islam into African traditional society have slighted concentration in the celebration of traditional festivals and rites. Instead, there is more celebration of Christmas, Easter, Eid-il-fitr among others