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Cultural Anthropology

A Perspective on the Human Condition

Tenth Edition

Emily A. Schultz and Robert H. Lavenda

Publication Date - 18 January 2017

ISBN: 9780190620684

480 pages
8-1/2 x 11 inches

In Stock

This best-selling cultural anthropology text holistically communicates the relevancy of ethnographic research to undergraduate students


Cultural Anthropology: A Perspective on the Human Condition, Tenth Edition, encourages students to think critically about culture and to view the world in new ways. The authors incorporate cutting-edge theory into solid coverage of traditional topics and pay special attention to issues of power and inequality in the contemporary world, including gender inequalities, racism, ethnic discrimination, nationalism, caste, and class.

Covering the material in fourteen chapters, Cultural Anthropology fits well into a semester-long introductory course structure. "In Their Own Words" commentaries expose students to alternative perspectives from non-anthropologists and indigenous peoples, and "EthnoProfile" boxes provide maps and ethnographic summaries of each society discussed at length in the text. The book also features many pedagogical aids, including a glossary; chapter summaries, review questions, and key terms at chapter ends; and annotated suggestions for further reading.

New to this Edition

  • A new Chapter 10 on sex, gender, and sexuality
  • Integrated material on relationships and marriage and family
  • An expanded discussion of anthropology and ethics
  • New sections on humanitarianism and humanitarian reason, territorial citizenship, and vernacular statecraft

About the Author(s)

Emily A. Schultz is Professor of Anthropology at St. Cloud State University.

Robert H. Lavenda is Professor of Anthropology at St. Cloud State University.

Previous Publication Date(s)

November 2013
January 2011
March 2008


"Cultural Anthropology is comprehensive, and the case studies and examples show both the breadth and the depth of the material. It offers deeper coverage than competing books, which don't use as many specific examples from anthropological research."--Dillon Carr, Grand Rapids Community College

"Cultural Anthropology provides a holistic introduction to anthropological methods, including topics, theories, and various approaches. It is comprehensive while still feeling fresh and relatively up to date. I like the emphasis on the tools of anthropology, meaning-making, the material life, human relationships, and the global world. I particularly like that the authors articulate key concepts with case studies. This is especially useful for my teaching-I can use a case study from the book or draw on an example from my own fieldwork to illustrate the concepts."--Christina P. Davis, Western Illinois University

"Cultural Anthropology is very effective in communicating the relevancy of ethnographic research to undergraduate introductory-level students. It demonstrates that there is continuity between historical conceptualizations of the discipline and current research in easily relatable topics like politics, economics, kinship, and gender. Beyond being unique, the book is well written and interesting. I use it and will continue to use it as long as I teach big introductory-level classes."--Kimberly Hart, State University of New York, Buffalo

Table of Contents


    Chapter 1. What Is the Anthropological Perspective?
    What Is Anthropology?
    What Is the Concept of Culture?
    What Makes Anthropology a Cross-Disciplinary Discipline?
    Biological Anthropology
    --In Their Own Words: Anthropology as a Vocation
    Cultural Anthropology
    Linguistic Anthropology
    Applied Anthropology
    In Their own Words: What Can you Learn from an Anthropology Major?
    Medical Anthropology
    The Uses of Anthropology

    Part I: The Tools of Cultural Anthropology

    Chapter 2. Why Is the Concept of Culture Important?
    How Do Anthropologists Define Culture?
    --In Their Own Words: The Paradox of Ethnocentrism
    Culture, History, and Human Agency
    --In Their Own Words: Culture and Freedom
    Why Do Cultural Differences Matter?
    What Is Ethnocentrism?
    --Ethno Profile 2.1: Tswana
    --In Their Own Words: Human-rights Law and the Demonization of Culture
    Is It Possible to Avoid Ethnocentric Bias?
    What Is Cultural Relativism?
    How Can Cultural Relativity Improve our Understanding of Controversial Cultural practices?
    Genital Cutting, Gender, and Human Rights
    Genital Cutting as a Valued Ritual
    Culture and Moral Reasoning
    Did Their Culture Make Them Do It?
    Does Culture Explain Everything?
    Culture Change and Cultural Authenticity
    The Promise of the Anthropological perspective

    Chapter 3. What Is Ethnographic Fieldwork?
    --Ethno Profile 3.1: Managua
    Why Do Fieldwork?
    What Is the Fieldwork Experience Like?
    A Meeting of Cultural Traditions
    --Ethno Profile 3.2: Blackston
    --Ethno Profile 3.3: El Barrio
    Ethnographic Fieldwork: How Has Anthropologists' Understanding Changed?
    The Positivist Approach
    Was There a Problem with Positivism?
    --Ethno Profile 3.4: Trobriand Islanders
    Can the Reflexive Approach Replace Positivism?
    --Anthropology in Everyday Life: Anthropological Ethics
    Can Fieldwork Be Multisited?
    What Is the Dialectic of Fieldwork?
    How Are Interpretation and Translation Important Aspects of Fieldwork?
    --In Their Own Words: Who's Studying Whom?
    How Can Anthropologists Move beyond the Dialectic?
    --In Their Own Words: Japanese Corporate Wives in the United States
    The Dialectic of Fieldwork: Some Examples
    --Ethno Profile 3.5: Komachi (mid-1970s)
    --Ethno Profile 3.6: Banaras
    What Happens When There Are Ruptures in Communication?
    --Ethno Profile 3.7: Utkuhikhalingmiut (Utku Inuit)
    What Are the Effects of Fieldwork?
    How Does Fieldwork Affect Informants?
    --Ethno Profile 3.8: Sidi Lahcen Lyussi
    How Does Fieldwork Affect the Researcher?
    Does Fieldwork Have Humanizing Effects?
    --In Their Own Words: The relationship between Anthropologists and Informants
    Where Does Anthropological Knowledge Come From?
    How Is Knowledge Produced?
    Is Anthropological Knowledge Open
    --In Their Own Words: The Skills of the Anthropologist

    Chapter 4. How Has Anthropological Thinking about Cultural Diversity Changed over Time?
    Capitalism, Colonialism, and the Origins of Ethnography
    Capitalism and Colonialism
    The Fur Trade in North America
    The Slave and Commodities Trades
    Colonialism and Modernity
    The Colonial Political Economy
    --In Their Own Words: The Anthropological Voice
    Anthropology and the Colonial Encounter
    What Explains Human Cultural Variation?
    --In Their Own Words: The ecologically Noble Savage?
    Evolutionary Typologies: The Nineteenth Century
    Social Structural Typologies: The British Emphasis
    Doing without
    Typologies: Culture Area Studies in America
    How Do Anthropologists Study Forms of Human Society Today?
    Postcolonial Realities
    Locating Cultural Processes in History
    Analyzing Cultural Processes under Globalization
    The Anthropology of Science, Technology, and Medicine

    Part II: The Resources of Culture

    Chapter 5. What Is Human Language?
    Why Do Anthropologists Study Language?
    Language and Culture
    Talking about Experience
    What Makes Human Language Distinctive?
    --In Their Own Words: Cultural Translation
    What Does It Mean to "Learn" a Language?
    Language and Context
    --Ethno Profile 5.1: Java
    Does Language Affect How We See the World?
    What Are the Components of Language?
    Phonology: Sounds
    Morphology: Word Structure
    Syntax: Sentence Structure
    Semantics: Meaning
    Pragmatics: Language in Contexts of Use
    --Ethno Profile 5.2: Samoa
    What Happens When Languages Come into Contact?
    What Is the Relation of Pidgins and Creoles?
    How Is Meaning Negotiated in Pidgins and Creoles?
    What Does Linguistic Inequality Look Like?
    What Are the Controversies Surrounding the Language Habits of African Americans?
    --In Their Own Words: Varieties of African American English
    What Is Language Ideology?
    What Are the Controversies Surrounding the Language Habits of Women and Men?
    What Is Lost If a Language Dies?
    --Anthropology in Everyday Life: Language Revitalization
    How Are Language and Truth Connected?

    Chapter 6. How Do We Make Meaning?
    What Is Play?
    How Do We Think about Play?
    --Ethno Profile 6.1: Aymara
    What Are Some Effects of Play?
    Do People Play by the Rules?
    How Are Culture and Sport Related?
    How Is Sport in the Nation-State Organized?
    --Ethno Profile 6.2: Brazil
    Sport as Metaphor
    --Ethno Profile 6.3: Cuba
    How Are Baseball and Masculinity Related in Cuba?
    What Is Art?
    Can Art Be Defined?
    "But Is It Art?"
    "She's Fake": Art and Authenticity
    How Does Hip-Hop Become Japanese?
    --Ethno Profile 6.4: Japan
    How Does Sculpture Figure in the Baule Gbagba Dance?
    The Mass Media: A Television Serial in Egypt
    --In Their Own Words: Tango
    What Is Myth?
    --Ethno Profile 6.5: Cairo
    How Does Myth Reflect-and Shape-Society?
    Do Myths Help Us Think?
    What Is Ritual?
    How Do Anthropologists Define Ritual?
    What Makes a Child's Birthday Party a Ritual?
    How Is Ritual Expressed in Action?
    What Are Rites of Passage?
    How Are Play and Ritual Complementary?
    --In Their Own Words: Video in the Villages
    --Ethno Profile 6.6: Yoruba
    How Do Cultural Practices Combine Play, Art, Myth, and Ritual?
    --Ethno Profile 6.7: Sinhalese

    Chapter 7. What Can Anthropology Tell Us about Religion and Worldview?
    --Ethno Profile 7.1: Guider
    What Is a Worldview?
    How Do Anthropologists Study Worldviews?
    What Are Some Key Metaphors for Constructing Worldviews?
    --Ethno Profile 7.2: Dinka
    What Is Religion?
    How Do People Communicate in Religion?
    How Are Religion and Social Organization Related?
    --Ethno Profile 7.3: Fang
    Worldviews in Practice: Two Case Studies
    Coping with Misfortune: Witchcraft, Oracles, and Magic among the Azande
    --Ethno Profile 7.4: Azande
    Are There Patterns of Witchcraft Accusation?
    Coping with Misfortune: Listening for God among Contemporary Evangelicals in the United States
    --In Their Own Words: For all Those Who Were Indian in a Former Life
    Maintaining and Changing a Worldview
    How Do People Cope with Change?
    Anthropology in Everyday Life: Lead Poisoning among Mexican American Children
    --Ethno Profile 7.5: Kwaio
    --In Their Own Words: Custom and Confrontation
    How Are Worldviews Used as Instruments of Power?
    Is Secularism a Worldview?
    Religion and Secularism
    Muslim Headscarves in France: A Case Study

    Part III: The Organization of Material Life

    Chapter 8. How Are Culture and Power Connected?
    Who Has the Power to Act?
    How Do Anthropologists Study Politics?
    What Is Coercion?
    Coercion in Societies without States?
    Domination and Hegemony
    Power and National Identity: A Case Study
    --Ethno Profile 8.1: Beng
    --Ethno Profile 8.2: Tamils
    Biopower and Governmentality
    Trying to Elude Governmentality: A Case Study
    --In Their Own Words: Reforming the Crow Constitution
    --Anthropology in Everyday Life: Anthropology and Advertising
    The Ambiguity of Power
    How Can Power Be an Independent Entity?
    What Is the Power of the Imagination?
    The Power of the Weak
    --Ethno Profile 8.3: Bolivian Tin Miners
    What Does It Mean to Bargain for Reality?
    --Ethno Profile 8.4: Sefrou
    --Ethno Profile 8.5: "Sedaka" Village
    --In Their Own Words: Protesters gird for Long Fight over Opening Peru's Amazon
    How Does History Become a Prototype of and for Political Action?
    --Ethno Profile 8.6: Northern Peru (Rondas Campesinas)
    How Can the Meaning of History Be Negotiated?

    Chapter 9. How Do People Make a Living?
    What Are Subsistence Strategies?
    What Are the Connections between Culture and Livelihood?
    Self-Interest, Institutions, and Morals
    What Are Production, Distribution, and Consumption?
    How Are Goods Distributed and Exchanged?
    Capitalism and Neoclassical Economics
    --In Their Own Words: David Graeber on Debt
    Modes of Exchange
    Does Production Drive Economic Activities?
    --Ethno Profile 9.1: Nootka
    Modes of Production
    The Role of Conflict in Material Life
    --Anthropology in Everyday Life: Producing Sorghum and Millet in Honduras and the
    Applying Production Theory to Social and Cultural Life
    --In Their Own Words: "So Much Work, So Much Tragedy . . . and for What?"
    Why Do People Consume What They Do?
    --In Their Own Words: Solidarity Forever
    The Internal Explanation: Malinowski and Basic Human Needs
    The External Explanation: Cultural Ecology
    Food Storage and Sharing
    How Does Culture Construct Human Needs?
    What Is the Original Affluent Society?
    The Abominations of Leviticus
    Banana Leaves in the Trobriand Islands
    Changing Consumption in Rural Guatemala
    How Does Culture Construct Utility?
    --In Their Own Words: Fake Masks and Faux Modernity
    Consumption Studies Today
    Coca-Cola in Trinidad
    What Is the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition?
    Interplay between the Meaningful and the Material

    Part IV: Systems of Relationships

    Chapter 10. What Can Anthropology Teach Us about Sex, Gender, and Sexuality?
    How Did Twentieth-Century Feminism Shape the Anthropological Study of Sex, Gender, and Sexuality?
    --Ethno Profile 10.1: Mount Hagen
    How Do Anthropologists Organize the Study of Sex, Gender, and Sexuality?
    How Are Sex and Gender Affected by Other Forms of Identity?
    --Ethno Profile 10.2: Haiti
    How Do Ethnographers Study Gender Performativity?
    How Do Anthropologists Study Connections Among Sex, Gender, Sexuality, and the Body?
    How Do Anthropologists Study Connections between Bodies and Technologies?
    How Do Anthropologists Study Relations between Sex, Gender, and Sexuality?
    How Does Ethnography Document Variable Culture Understandings Concerning Sex, Gender, and Sexuality?
    Female Sexual Practices in Mombasa
    --Ethno Profile 10.3: Mombasa Swahilis
    Male and Female Sexual Practices in Nicaragua
    Transsexuality and Same-Sex Desire in Iran

    Chapter 11. Where Do Our Relatives Come from and Why Do They Matter?
    How Do Human Beings Organize Interdependence?
    What Is Friendship?
    What Is Kinship?
    What Is the Role of Descent in Kinship?
    Bilateral Kindreds
    What Role Do Lineages Play in Descent?
    --Ethno Profile 11.1: Ju/'hoansi
    Lineage Membership
    The Logic of Lineage Relationships
    What Are
    --Ethno Profile 11.2: Tiv
    --Ethno Profile 11.3: Nuer
    What Are Matrilineages?
    --Ethno Profile 11.4: Navajo
    Matrilineality, Electoral Politics, and the Art of the Neutral Partisan
    What Are Kinship Terminologies?
    What Criteria Are Used for Making Kinship Distinctions?
    What Is Adoption?
    --Ethno Profile 11.5: Zumbagua
    Adoption in Highland Ecuador
    What Is the Relation Between Adoption and Child Circulation in the Andes?
    How Flexible Can Relatedness Be?
    Negotiation of Kin Ties among the Ju/'hoansi
    European American Kinship and New Reproductive Technologies
    --Ethno Profile 11.6: Thailand
    Assisted Reproduction in Israel
    Compadrazgo in Latin America
    --Ethno Profile 11.7: Israel
    Organ Transplantation and the Creation of New Relatives
    What Is Marriage?
    Toward a Definition of Marriage
    Woman Marriage and Ghost Marriage among the Nuer
    Why Is Marriage a Social Process?
    Patterns of Residence after Marriage
    Single and Plural Spouses
    --Ethno Profile 11.8: Ashanti
    What Is the Connection between Marriage and Economic Exchange?
    --Ethno Profile 11.9: Nyinba
    --In Their Own Words: Outside Work, Women, and Bridewealth
    What Is a Family?
    What Is the Nuclear Family?
    --In Their Own Words: Dowry Too High. Lose Bride and go to Jail 26
    What Is the Polygynous Family?
    --Ethno Profile 11.10: Mende
    Extended and Joint Families
    How Are Families Transformed over Time?
    Divorce and Remarriage
    --Ethno Profile 11.11: Alaskan Inuit
    --In Their Own Words: Law, Custom, and Crimes against Women
    How Does International Migration Affect the Family?
    --Ethno Profile 11.12: Los Pinos
    --In Their Own Words: Survival and a Surrogate Family
    Families by Choice
    --Anthropology in Everyday Life: Caring for Infibulated Women Giving Birth in Norway
    --In Their Own Words: Why Migrant Women Feed Their Husbands Tamales
    The Flexibility of Marriage
    Love, Marriage, and HIV/AIDS in Nigeria
    --In Their Own Words: Two Cheers for Gay Marriage

    Part V: From Local to Global

    Chapter 12. What Can Anthropology Tell Us about Social Inequality?
    Caste in India
    --Ethno Profile 12.1: Gopalpur
    How Do Caste and Class Intersect in Contemporary India?
    --Ethno Profile 12.2: Marghi
    Caste in Western Africa
    The Value of Caste as an Analytic Category
    --In Their Own Words: As economic Turmoil Mounts, So Do Attacks on Hungary's Gypsies
    --In Their Own Words: On the Butt Size of Barbie and Shani
    The Biology of Human Variation
    Race as a Social Category
    --Ethno Profile 12.3: Colonial Oaxaca (1521-1812)
    Race in Colonial Oaxaca
    Colorism in Nicaragua
    --In Their Own Words: The Politics of Ethnicity
    Ethnicity in Urban Africa
    Ethnicity and Race
    Nation and Nation-State
    Nationalities and Nationalism
    Australian Nationalism
    --Anthropology in Everyday Life: Anthropology and Democracy
    Naturalizing Discourses
    The Paradox of Essentialized Identities
    Nation-Building in a Postcolonial World: Fiji
    Nationalism and Its Dangers

    Chapter 13. What Can Anthropology Tell Us about Globalization?
    --Ethno Profile 13.1: Kayapó
    --In Their Own Words: Amazon Indians Honor an Intrepid Spirit
    --In Their Own Words: The Ethnographer's Responsibility
    --In Their Own Words: Slumdog Tourism
    Cultural Imperialism or Cultural Hybridity?
    Cultural Imperialism
    Cultural Hybridity
    --In Their Own Words: How Sushi Went Global
    The Limits of Cultural Hybridity
    How Does Globalization Affect the Nation-State?
    Are Global Flows Undermining Nation-States?
    Migration, Trans-Border Identities, and Long-Distance Nationalism
    --In Their Own Words: Cofan
    --Ethno Profile 13.2: Rione Monti (Rome)
    Anthropology and Multicultural Politics in the New Europe
    How Can Citizenship Be Flexible?
    What Is Territorial Citizenship?
    What Is Vernacular Statecraft?
    Are Human Rights Universal?
    Human Rights Discourse as the Global Language of Social Justice
    Rights versus Culture
    Rights to Culture
    Rights as Culture
    --Anthropology in Everyday Life: Anthropology and Indigenous Rights
    How Can Culture Help in Thinking about Rights?
    Violence against Women in Hawaii
    --Ethno Profile 13.3: Hawaii
    What Is the Relationship between Human Rights and Humanitarianism?
    Can We Be at Home in a Global World?
    --In Their Own Words: Destructive Logging and Deforestation in Indonesia
    Border Thinking

    Chapter 14. How Is Anthropology Applied in the Field of Medicine?
    What Is Medical Anthropology?
    What Makes Medical Anthropology "Biocultural"?
    How Do People with Different Cultures Understand the Causes of Sickness and Health?
    Kinds of Selves
    Decentered Selves on the Internet
    Self and Subjectivity
    Subjectivity, Trauma, and Structural Violence
    How Are Human Sickness and Health Shaped by the Global Capitalist Economy?
    --In Their Own Words: Ethical Dilemmas and Decisions
    Health, Human Reproduction, and Global Capitalism
    Medical Anthropology and HIV/AIDS
    The Future of Medical Anthropology
    Why Study Anthropology?


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