Thursday, June 23, 2016

"The purpose of anthropology is to make the world safe for human differences"- Ruth Benedict

The title of this post is a quote from a brilliant cultural anthropologist, Ruth Benedict. Her life's work was studying how human's reacted/ thought differently to certain things. To simplify, "one man's trash is another man's treasure", and looking at the cultural differences that make this quote true are vital to understanding what is going on in Barron and Dunn County.

In reference to the lakes I am learning about, I don't believe that any member of the community views the lake as trash. From what I have gathered, the lake is either a vital part of the community, or it is something that could be good, but has been neglected and abused. My research is looking at how businesses and community members view the lake, and to what degree of importance is their relationship with the lake in their everyday lives, as well as understanding the division of opinions that many have in reference to the lakes. My goal is to learn more about the citizens of Chetek and Menomonie's perception of the lake, whether that is perception of causes of lake pollution, what is being done about the pollution, or their perception of what the lake does for them in general.

We plan to accomplish this by conducting interviews with the local businesses, home owners, and lake protection groups that exist in the counties. By analyzing this qualitative data, we find reoccurring themes and topics that come up, which will be vital to understanding how having a polluted lake in the area influences the locals every day lives. This can further the knowledge for the community, which is an effort to make the lakes cleaner and provoke action in what should be done to correct the damage that is being done to the lakes.

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