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Emic/etic (by analogy from phonemic/phonetic). The contrast in the study (mainly in anthropology) of peoples and their religion either according to the principles, methods, and interests of the observer (etic) or by an attempt to understand the viewpoint of the people themselves (emic). The emic/etic contrast raises acutely the issue of whose meaning is the meaning of the meaning (cf. HERMENEUTICS) since it is now recognized that the aim of a value-free account of religious beliefs and practices is unattainable.