Re: emic-etic distinction

Shannon Adams (
Thu, 17 Oct 1996 13:12:59 -0700

Charlie Zimmerman wrote:
> Could someone in this newsgroup please do me a favor and:
> a) explain the emic-etic distinction.
> b) explain what it might have to do with the study of cross-cultural
> psychology
> c) point me in the direction of reference sources that might further my
> understanding.
> Responses to any of the above would be greately appreciated.
> Thank you,
> Charlie Zimmerman

"As Pike defines it, the *emic* perspective focuses on the intrinsic cultural
distinctions that are meningful to the members of a given society (e.g.,
whether the natural world is distinguished from the supernatural realm in the
worldview of the culture) . . . The *etic* perspective, again according to
Pike, relies upon the extrinsic concepts and categories that have meaning for
scientific observes (e.g., per capita energy consumption)"

from Lett, James W. "Emic/Etic Distinctions," in _The Encyclopedia of
Cultural Anthropology_. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1996.(this article
also includes a bibliography)

I don't know about the other cultural anthropologists here, but I was trained
to favour the *emic* perspective.