Emic and Etic Perspectives

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  • Two perspectives of reality used when investigating a social system— commonly used in ethnography. “Emic” is an insider's view of a behavior, system, or culture and presents a native, local, culture-bound position. An emic account is one that is idiographic, one that accurately represents the multiple realities of the members of a specific community. “Etic,” on the other hand, is an outsider's viewpoint and generally presents a nomothetic perspective, one that is abstract, culturally neutral, and scientific. An etic account represents the view of the trained observer or researcher. For more information, see Fetterman (1997).

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