The Ethnographer’s Ten Commandments

  1. Ethnography is the crown of all the humanities because it makes a comprehensive study of all peoples and all mankind, past and present.
  2. You shall not make for yourself an idol of your people, your religion, or your culture. You should know that all people are created equal: there is no Greek or Jew, no white or coloured. He who knows one ethnos, knows none; he who knows one religion, knows none.
  3. You shall not prophane science, or defile ethnography by career-seeking – a true ethnographer is he who nourishes enthusiasm for science and bears love for mankind and Man.
  4. Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall draw conclusions. Remember that you owe a debt to the public and science.
  5. Honour your great predecessors and teachers in academic and public life, and you will be duly honoured.
  6. You shall not kill science with forged facts, superficial observations, and hasty conclusions.
  7. You shall not plagiarize.
  8. You shall not change your once chosen profession of ethnographer. He who has entered upon the path of ethnography, shall not wander from it.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour, other peoples, their spirit and rites, customs and mores, etc. Love your neighbour more than yourself.
  10. You shall not impose your culture on the ethnos you explore. Treat this ethnos with care and alertness, love and attention, whatever the stage of their cultural development – and they will strive to rise to the level of higher cultures.

L.Y. Sternberg

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