Name ___________________________________________      Date/Location _______________________________

Description
Analysis
Reflection

Noted a change in peoples' behaviors when I entered the office. Where they had used ritual greetings such as "Morn', Fred" or simply "Hi", now they all were using this greeting, "Top of the mornin' to ya" or ", "May you live to be a hundred years With one extra year to repent." Others said, "Kiss me, I'm Irish" and "I'm a wee bit Irish". No one commented on this change in ritualized greeting behavior, but everyone seemed to be aware of meaning; I did not notice any puzzlement on my office mates' faces, nor did I overhear anyone asking for an explanation of this change in communication.

In addition to these additions to verbal communication, I noticed that some persons were being singled out for playful pinches. I think that these grabbings of the upper arm or the cheek were not intended to be painful, as everyone was laughing even as 'victims' attempted to avoid the pinching. I did not note anyone complaining. I did determine that the 'victims' were not wearing green. This singling-out was made apparent when I overheard a student say to another student. "Oh, you are not wearing green. You know what that means!" She reached over, smiling, and pinched the other student, someone I know is her best friend.

As I approached the coffee area, I was further confused by the presence of green-colored sugar cubes where there had always been bleached white cubed sugar before. Additionally, I overheard a colleague asking if anyone was planning to join the potluck. She commented that she had made "my family recipe for boiled cabbage and I used my grandmother Megan's recipe. Everyone knows she made the best cabbage in her village in Ireland."

Notes: This column would most likely not be typed, but handwritten in the field or as soon after as is possible.

There appears to be an embracing of Irish identity by my colleagues. Others have noted that the use of key phrases or the eating of traditional foods is common among Americans. This is especially true of persons who do not embrace other aspects of their ancestors' ethnic identity. I wonder if this is an example of cultural revival or the result of transnationalism?

If it is ethnic identity that is the basis of these behaviors, what sense of belonging does this impart? What about those who do not choose to act, but are of the heritage? Are there more significant consequences for avoidance by these persons?

Notes: This column may or may not be handwritten. It may be completed after the anthropologist begins to generate hypotheses about the notes, or after consulting anthropological texts, key informants or his/her research committee.

I was initially stunned by the changes I noted in my colleagues. I was not willing to put green-colored sugar in my coffee, but no-one seemed to notice my hesitation. The almost-festival feel was a nice change from the fast-paced normal day, though.

 

Notes: This section helps the anthropologist record culture shock, personal reactions, other comments, too.