If the title sounds postmodernist, then I think it is the best thing Postmodernism has contributed to the intellectual development of man. Let me start this post with the poem I recently wrote after reading a collection of American postmodern poems.
Yes, they were just eyes, but they surely made me speak of "shy tourmaline", "insect wings", "dance of cherubs", and "darkness of demons". From ordinary to strange or familiar to unfamiliar, indeed, was the literary exercise in this one.
Shklovsky, Bakhtin, Derrida wrote extensively on making objects unfamiliar and the practical poetic, subversion or undermining of social hierarchies, and difference and deference in meaning and perception. Although theirs are substantial and contemporary, I still find Aristotle's Poetics clearer and more interesting. That "poetic language must appear strange and wonderful" is an idea that acknowledges the process of defamiliarizing.
Even the ancient Greek scholars thought about it and used it in their rhetorics. I think the process of defamiliarizing can be used in our study of culture. I don't mean culture jamming or cultural anarchy where the idea of culture is disrupted and its elements are destroyed. Maybe we can shift our focus sometimes in framing elements of culture that we oftentimes understand as hierarchical and categorized.
When I mentioned before that one could study the household economics in our town by checking how women sewed the hemlines of their dresses and skirts, they thought I was kidding. I must have sounded dumb and strange. Although I could explain how those women rolled bills and hid them inside the hems of their dresses or skirts, I did not press further since all of us had not yet heard about defamiliarizing culture.
Until today, I still believe anthropologists in the field can get meaningful data from idle talks and gossips, garbage and waste, and small things and ordinary events they tend to ignore or consider insignificant.