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What is an Emic? In anthropology, folkloristics, social and behavioral sciences, emic and etic refer to two kinds of field research is done and viewpoints obtained: emic, from within the social group (from the perspective of the subject) and etic, from outside (from the perspective of the observer). The terms 'emic' and 'etic' were borrowed from the study of linguistics. Specifically, 'etic' refers to research that studies cross-cultural differences, whereas 'emic' refers to research that fully studies one culture with no (or only a secondary) cross-cultural focus.
An emic view of culture is ultimately a perspective focus on the intrinsic cultural distinctions that are meaningful to the members of a given society, often considered to be an ‘insider's perspective. While this perspective stems from the concept of immersion in a specific culture, the emic participant isn’t always a member of that culture or society. Studies are done from an emic perspective often include more detailed and culturally rich information than studies done from an etic point of view. Because the observer places themselves within the culture of intended study, they are able to go further in-depth on the details of practices and beliefs of a society that may otherwise have been ignored. However, the emic perspective has its downfalls. Studies done from an emic perspective can create a bias on the part of the participant, especially if said individual is a member of the culture they are studying, thereby failing to keep in mind how their practices are perceived by others and possibly causing valuable information to be left out. The emic perspective serves the purpose of providing descriptive in-depth reports about how insiders of a culture understand their rituals. ~ "The emic approach investigates how local people think… How they perceive and categorize the world, their rules for behavior, what has meaning for them, and how they imagine and explain things. "The etic (scientist-oriented) approach shifts the focus from local observations, categories, explanations, and interpretations to those of the anthropologist.