The image of anthropologists at work in the illustration above involves a great deal of misunderstanding relative to the way that most contemporary anthropologists frame or practice their research. The problem is not simply the unflattering iconography of people who seem part Puritan, part Sherlock

Holmes, and part Girl Scout, but rather the assumptions regarding what this and surrounding iconography imply about the anthropological process. In this chapter, we want to detail what we mean by cultural analysis and make explicit some of the implicit assumptions involved in anthropological ways of thinking and conducting research. To do so, we believe it is necessary to first deconstruct some of the widely held-and largely misleading-ideas about anthropological work, as evidenced in this chapter’s opening image.