Advice to Aspiring Ethnographers Essay

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Question: What advice does Sterk have for aspiring ethnographers? In recent years there has reportedly been a dramatic global increase in the prostitution of women (Flowers 1998). In the article “Fieldwork on Prostitution in the Era of AIDS”, Claire Sterk talks about prostitution from the viewpoint of the prostitutes themselves (Sterk 2012). Her ethnographic research conducted over the last ten years took place in the New York City and Atlanta metropolitan areas (Sterk 2012). Throughout the article, the reader learns a lot about the lives of these women such as how and why they entered the business, “the numerous processes involved in their continual prostitution careers, the link between prostitution and drug use, the women’s interactions with their pimps and customers, the impact of the AIDS epidemic and the increasing violence on their experiences” (Sterk 2012). Also, throughtout the article Sterk provides guidance for aspiring ethnographers. Ethnographers are researchers who submerge themselves into the culture they are studying. They participate in the daily lives of those under observation for an extended period of time in order to attain first hand experience. Sterk encourages that ethnographers avoid strong dependence on initial contacts, attain research through open-ended questions and refrain from expressing their opinions about the culture and the lives of the subjects. Firstly, Sterk encourages that aspiring ethnographers abstain from strong dependence on initial contacts. In the beginning stages of the research, the ethnographer’s main goal is to establish rapport (Identity, Race and Power 2013). Rapport refers to the trusting relationship between the ethnographer and the participants (Identity, Race and Power 2013). Through these interpersonal relationships with participants, ethnographers are able to gain access to information on the lives and

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