Your assignment is to write an essay—an ethnography—that examines YOUR individual participation in a

Your assignment is to write an essay—an ethnography—that examines YOUR individual participation in a specific culture or subculture. Now, the word “culture” doesn’t need to refer only to religion or heritage; it can include hobbies, professions, institutions, etc.. Possible topics include flyfishing, hunting, fishing, knitting, dancing, gospel singing, freecyclers, riding quads, skiing or snowboarding, skateboarding, being a fan or participant of any sort of sport really, gaming (either online or face-to-face), blogging, cooking, being a fan of a particular TV show or band, rock climbing, military, non-traditional student, online shopping, Ebay, autograph collecting . . . the list is endless.
There are four components to this assignment:
Define the culture: What are the parameters that define inclusion in or exclusion from a group?How do group members view outsiders and what motivates members to belong? Is there an initiation of some kind?
Illustrate how people (yourself and others) participate in this culture: Behaviors, ideas, objects, gathering places, etc.. What are the culture’s most symbolic or significant rituals? Why is meaning assigned to them? What is the group’s social hierarchy, and how is it organized and maintained? What objects are present, how are they typically used, and what significance is attached to them? What language is used?
Describe the stereotypes of this culture from within and without. How are these reinforced or refuted through your own experience?
Research how someone outside of this culture could find out more and participate: For example, festivals, shopping experiences, restaurants, ceremonies, conventions, etc..
You needn’t address these aspects of the assignment in this particular order; writing an ethnography is much more fluid than that. However, if you would like to treat the above components as a template for the essay you may do so.
Be careful that you look at your choice of culture objectively; it is difficult to be open-minded about a group to which you belong.
Finally, this will be a persuasive essay. Your ethnography needs to be focused and be built around a question you’re trying to answer about the way the group sees things.  Your challenge is to help your audience (me) to see what they’ve probably already seen but in a new way. Ultimately, what will make your essay meaningful for readers will be how well you succeed in helping them see through the eyes of your study subjects. It relies on a strong use of detail, description, and scene, think of Geertz and thick description.