A term from ethnography
, referring to an approach that emphasizes the personal, local-oriented, and internal nature of the data the anthropologist
is gathering. The emic approach tends to emphasize personal interview
s and cultural consultant
s, and be descriptive
rather than very analytic
. A culture
es and value
s are considered as important as the scientific data
. Generally bias is considered inevitable, and the culture's bias preferred to the scientist's.
The term can also be used, often in direct opposition to etic, to distiguish between a culture's perspective and an archetypal or crosscultural perspective. For example, a description of American Thanksgiving as a commemoration of the early European settlements in America would be emic; calling it a typical autumn harvest festival would be etic.
The terms were popularized by anthropologist Marvin Harris (1968) and are back-formations from the linguistic terms phonetic and phonemic.