This assignment is the ethnographic final paper I did for my ANP 429 method course. This particular research focuses on the relationship among members of one Chinese International students associations called CUSA on MSU campus, by which I try to examine if there exist a potential kinship-like relationship inside the association – since this is the rhetoric they would often use to label themselves.
The data was collected and analyzed through various interviews with members of CUSA (current president, leaders of each department, normal member, and graduated alumni) and participant observations on three events where most of CUSA participated (the New Year Gala, the weekly general meeting prior to the annual election, and the annual banquet near the end of each term year). Through the data I was able to find that the relationships among CUSA members are actually more complicated than I assumed, and should not be simply labeled as a “family”. It turned out the relationship was a fusion of small-circle friendship, proficient workplace dynamic, and individual member’s affinity to the association as a collective identity of CUSA family or CUSAers. However, this relationship is not stagnated and actually is quite fragile, especially when the leadership fails to hold the community together (which was what happening among CUSA members during my research). In this case, the affinity to the collective would be overshadowed by the other two characteristics.
This research turned out to be quite rewarding, since all the data I collect would eventually dispute my previous hypothesis that the kinship-like relationship would predominantly tie CUSA members together as a family. However, I also acknowledge to truly understand this complex relationship among Chinese International student associations, a long-term and more in-depth research is necessary.Final Papers