Saturday, 7 February 2009

Nectar of the Gods...

I spent an hour and a half today sitting in Starbucks...Why, you may ask is this out of the ordinary for Kim? Doesn't she have an unhealthy addiction to Cafe Estima blend drip coffee? Well, yes I do...but I was actually there because I was doing fieldwork. Yes, I actually have a project for a class that involves me sitting in Starbucks and studying the culture there to teach me about participant observation and how to do ethnographic research...I love Anthropology!

I was supposed to have a "research question" in mind when I began research...and I tentatively did, but as EVERY Anthropologist will tell you, no matter how strong your question, and the theory and evidence behind them, most of these questions will go right out the window two seconds into your research. This, I have always found, it totally true. I prefer to have a general idea of what I want to look at then go at it, participating, observing, asking questions, meeting people, interviewing, and getting a good idea of something interesting going on that can then be theorized on and written up.

Alas, funding bodies and Human ethics committees don't see it this way...I blame medical research, which has slowly killed social research for the rest of us through the slow, choking spread of Human Subjects Protocols, Bureaucratic committees, and miles of University red tape. Damn medical research killing people in the name of research...haha I wish I was kidding!

But the point here is, I get to sit at Starbucks and write about what I see, hear, smell, taste, and do. Also, what all the other patrons see, hear, smell, taste and do...And the baristas. How fun! Plus, its an excuse to do my homework free of internet distraction...(I definitely have an addiction). Yeah, sometimes life is tough...I think I'll go make a Tazo tea... :-)

In case you're interested...I'm studying the discrepancies between three Starbucks within a mile radius of each other. For a company that has built their empire on universal uniformity, there seem to be many variations in stores depending on (I think) area and clientele...prices, offerings, extras...they aren't universal. Interesting? Maybe...we'll just have to wait and see!

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