This sample paper on Cutural Anthropology offers a framework of relevant facts based on the recent research in the field. Read the introductory part, body and conclusion of the paper below.
My informant for this project is Amanda Q. Amanda is a bright, articulate and “bubbly” seventeen year old senior at Albertus Magna High School, in New York. She is an honor-roll student who enjoys participating in all kinds of sports and also belongs to the Spanish Club. She recently received a scholarship from Hofstra University where she eagerly plans to pursue a career in journalism, beginning this fall…or maybe Drama…or maybe Film… But above all, like most teens, she is looking forward to “flying the nest”, to live on campus in Long Island, and “explore her freedom” for the first time.
Amanda also has a part-time job, working three times a week, at a Starbucks coffee shop, in Suffern, NY. The short hours of her shifts give her enough time to engage in some other kind of activities that she enjoys.
During her leisure time, also akin to many teenagers, Amanda takes pleasure in dancing and listening to music. Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony are her “idols”. She also enjoys shopping for “funky clothes and shoes”, attending concerts and, particularly, “hanging out” with her many friends. “Hanging out”-spending time– can involve any activities from window shopping at the mall, to talking, or just watching television in the basement. Every weekend she also makes time to regularly attend “youth group” (Christian Youth Organization or CYO). Here she has the opportunity to “hang out” for hours and share in different activities with her peers. Amanda has been taking part in
“youth group” for over three years. Her participation began out of curiosity and somewhat influenced by her parents will to keep her in a structured and safe environment during off-school hours. However, her continued involvement throughout the years has been of her own decision.
Amanda Q. lives in a lovely house, in a white middle-class suburban neighborhood with her mother, father and brother. Her parents who are both originally from Puerto Rico always pull out all the stops to instill “good old Roman Catholic values” in both their children. So, along with getting good grades and obeying curfews, attending Sunday mass service has always been “mandatory” at the Q. household.
Initially the entire Q. family attended early morning mass services on Sundays. This became a nuisance to Amanda, who as a typical teen, barely awake struggled to make sense out of the “same old ancient sermons” and a “two-faced” middle-aged crowd (whom she considered ancient…). A crowd that on one hand, during mass, would piously stretch out their hand to you and say, “may the peace of God be with you”; but on the other, avoid a simple “hello” if they saw you at the mall. Although her belief in God was strong, the lack of moral consistency puzzled her and her inability to relate to an organized spirituality that allowed “no margin for human error” kept her unsatisfied with this setting.
In search of an alternate choice acceptable to herself and her parents, at fourteen, she began participating in the “young mass”. The “young mass” is tailored to adolescents only and takes place on Sundays between seven and eight o’clock in the evening. In this kind of service the young people enthusiastically “partake” in the service, rather than just observing. This consists of singing in the choir (a successfully popular one within the county), rewriting and adapting biblical readings, decorating the church, greeting the parishioners, etc. This is their mass and trying to make it as cool as possible is a license that Peter, the youth minister of the church, happily and freely offers the kids in exchange for their participation. Amanda’s parents did not mind driving her back and forth from these services late Sunday evenings, as long as she “stuck to the old rule” of going to mass. Conversely, her brother Dan was not “into it”. Thus, to this day, he reluctantly continues his “mandatory” attendance, with the family… early in the morning, every Sunday mornings…
It would be here, at the “young mass” of the Church of Presentation in Upper Saddle River, NJ that Amanda felt engaged by the mass service, her peers and her faith, for the first time. She made new friends with similar tastes and ideas to whom she could relate and it was at the suggestion of one of them that she took part in her first “youth group meeting”.
Amanda had been referred to me by one of my co-workers. When I initially contacted her by phone to explain what the assignment entailed she excitedly committed herself to meeting regularly with me, preferably on Saturdays and/or Sundays, when neither of our busy schedules conflicted with one another. In all we met, six times. Our meetings initially took place at my home or her parents’ and they lasted between an hour and an hour and a half. However, once I found out she also shared in my weakness for caramel machiattos, she quickly took me up on my offer to arrange our future meetings at my local Starbucks coffee shop, in Nyack. Of course, these interviews would now extend themselves way beyond two hours…or until the store manager politely advised us it was time to close down… Amanda talked endlessly and from time to time her off-on-a-tangent conversations would supply me with more information than I needed for the purpose of this project, but it was still useful nevertheless. Like, for example, how to “spike up” (enhance) the flavor of a vanilla frap (another popular “designer coffee”) by adding confectionery sugar and chocolate syrup, to where I could find the new J. Lo clothing line, at a discount prices, for my eleven year old daughter. Without doubt, Amanda loved to talk. She had a sunny personality and a good sense of humor. I was certain that we were a good match, as long as she would remain committed to the schedule, which she did without exception. Since she does not yet drive, I always made myself available to pick her up and bring her back home as needed.