We live our lives, everyday the same routine. Living in a society of naive realism; the universal belief that all people define the real world in pretty much the same way. It is fair to say that most of us take what we have for granted. I admit that I too have been guilty of the same act. This is most likely because it has taken time for me to acclimate and mature into the person I see in the mirror today. Everyday, we wake up, go to school, hang out with friends and family, eat, sleep, and all the other activities our day may consist of.
But most of us never take the time to reflect on our lives and what we have. For example, most of you may dread coming to school to learn, but there are many people in the world that would give anything to have an education, food in the fridge, a family that loves them more then anything else on the planet, a hot shower, and warm bed to sleep in. Anthropologist, Claire E. Sterk decided to choose the taboo area of conducting fieldwork on prostitution in the era of AIDS in New York City during the early 90’s.
She began with no associations into the underground life having to develop friendships with different prostitutes in the area. This experience made her reflect on her own life and realize that she must not take things for granted. By studying the social and cultural life of the women involved in the sex trade, Sterk was able to complete her field research, as well as learning a valuable life lesson about herself. In the late 80’s and early 90’s Sterk started her ethnographic study in New York City and Atlanta, studying the lower echelons of the prostitution world.
Even though Sterk didn’t study in a foreign land with a foreign language, she was still found to be an outsider. Shunned and threatened to see if see was an undercover cop in the early processes, her knowledge and interest into the lifestyles and struggles of ‘streetwalking’ allowed her to develop a relationship into the community. Enabling her to move about and get to know other people. After learning the unwritten ground rules she was able to shift around and get to know almost everyone in the society.