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Cultural Anthropology

A Perspective on the Human Condition

Ninth Edition

Emily A. Schultz and Robert H. Lavenda

Publication Date - November 2013

ISBN: 9780199350841

464 pages
8-1/2 x 11 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $94.95

Taking a student-oriented, question-based approach, this introduction to cultural anthropology is the most affordable comprehensive text on the market


Cultural Anthropology: A Perspective on the Human Condition is an introductory cultural anthropology text that 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. An Instructor's Manual and Computerized Test Bank and a Companion Website at www.oup.com/us/schultz provide additional helpful resources, including a student guide with extensive study skill tips and chapter review tests.

New to this Edition

  • An entirely new chapter dedicated to medical anthropology--Chapter 13: How is Anthropology Applied in the Field of Medicine?
  • Several updates to Chapter 4: How Has Anthropological Thinking about Cultural Diversity Changed Over Time?
  • Reorganized Chapter 14: What Can Anthropology Tell Us About Globalization?
  • Numerous new ethnographic examples throughout the text
  • Four new "In Their Own Words" boxes
  • A glossary of key terms to aid in studying and reviewing
  • All chapter titles and major headings are now in question form

About the Author(s)

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

Robert H. Lavenda is Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the Anthropology Program at St. Cloud State University.

Previous Publication Date(s)

November 2013
January 2011
March 2008


"Cultural Anthropology avoids the dry and mundane writing style that characterizes some texts. I find the student-oriented pedagogy interactive and extremely effective. I appreciate the depth of discussion devoted to describing many of the concepts addressed-as well as the inclusion of anthropologists whose work is relevant to those concepts-and the rich and varied examples throughout the book."--Brenda Sendejo, Southwestern University

"The overall approach of this text is designed to foster inquisitive, critical thinking and to emphasize the relevance of cultural anthropology for contemporary, real-life issues. I found the student resources [on the website] extraordinarily interesting, useful, and relevant. They are stunningly good. For these reasons--as well as the affordable price--I would definitely adopt and recommend this book to my colleagues."--Harry Sanabria, University of Pittsburgh

"This text is comprehensive, and the authors reveal a good grasp of the issues. Their ability to capture and explore the latest research and current topics is particularly impressive, and one of the main reasons I adopted the book. The writing is excellent, clear, crisp, and very reader-friendly."--Meryl James-Sebro, Florida Gulf Coast University

Table of Contents

    Each chapter contains a Chapter Summary, For Review, Key Terms, and Suggested Readings


    Chapter 1: The Anthropological Perspective

    What is Anthropology?
    What Is the Concept of Culture?
    What Makes Anthropology a Cross-Disciplinary Discipline?
    Biological Anthropology
    Cultural Anthropology
    Linguistic Anthropology

    Part I: The Tools of Cultural Anthropology

    Chapter 2: Why Is the Concept of Culture Important?

    How Do Anthropologists Define Culture?
    Culture, History, and Human Agency
    Why Do Cultural Differences Matter?
    -What Is Ethnocentrism?
    -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?

    Why Do Fieldwork?
    What is the Fieldwork Experience Like?
    -A Meeting of Cultural Traditions
    Ethnographic Fieldwork: How Has Anthropologists' Understanding Changed?
    -The Positivist Approach
    -Was There a Problem with Positivism?
    -Can the Reflexive Approach Replace Positivism?
    -Can Fieldwork Be Multisited?
    What Is the Dialectic of Fieldwork?
    -How Are Interpretation and Translation Important Aspects of Fieldwork?
    -How Can Anthropologists Move Beyond the Dialectic?
    -The Dialectic of Fieldwork: Some Examples
    -What Happens When There Are Ruptures in Communication?
    What Are the Effects of Fieldwork?
    -How Does Fieldwork Affect Informants?
    -How Does Fieldwork Affect the Researcher?
    -Does Fieldwork Have Humanizing Effects?
    Where Does Anthropological Knowledge Come From?
    How Does Knowledge Produce?
    Is Anthropological Knowledge Open-Ended?

    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
    Anthropology and the Colonial Encounter
    What Explains Human Cultural Variation?
    -Evolutionary Typologies: The Nineteenth Century
    -Unilineal Cultural Evolutionism
    -Social Structural Typologies: The British Emphasis
    -Origins in the Colonial Setting
    -The Classification of Political Structures
    -Structural-Functional Theory
    -Doing without Typologies: Culture Area Studies in America
    -The Biology of Human Variation
    -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?
    What Does It Mean to "Learn" a Language?
    -Language and Context
    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
    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?
    -What Is Language Ideology?
    -What Are the Controversies Surrounding the Language Habits of Women and Men?
    What Is Lost if a Language Dies?
    How Are Language and Truth Connected?

    Chapter 6: How Do We Make Meaning?

    What Is Play?
    -How Do We Think about Play?
    -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?
    -Sport as Metaphor
    -How Are Baseball and Masculinity Connected 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?
    -How Does Sculpture Figure the Baule Gbagba Dance?
    -The Mass Media: A Television Serial in Egypt
    What Is Myth?
    -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?
    How Do Cultural Practices Combine Play, Art, Myth, and Ritual?

    Chapter 7: What Can Anthropology Tell Us about Religion and Worldview?

    What Is a Worldview?
    How Do Anthropologists Study Worldviews?
    What Are Some Key Metaphors for Constructing Worldviews?
    What Is Religion?
    -How Do People Communicate in Religion?
    -How Are Religion and Social Organization Related?
    Worldviews in Practice: Two Case Studies
    -Coping with Misfortune: Witchcraft, Oracles, and Magic among the Azande
    -Azande Witchcraft Beliefs
    -Dealing with Witches
    -Are There Patterns of Witchcraft Accusation?
    -Coping with Misfortune: Listening for God among Contemporary Evangelicals in the U. S.
    Maintaining and Changing a Worldview
    -How Do People Cope with Change?
    -The Bwiti Religion
    -Kwaio Religion
    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
    -Biopower and Governmentality
    -Trying to Elude Governmentality: A Case Study
    -The Ambiguity of Power
    How Can Power Be an Independent Entity?
    What Is the Power of the Imagination?
    -The Power of the Weak
    -What Does it Mean to Bargain for Reality?
    -Bargaining over Marriage in Morocco
    -Peasant Resistance in Malaysia
    How Does History Become a Prototype of and for Political Action?
    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
    -Modes of Exchange
    Does Production Drive Economic Activities?
    -Modes of Production
    -The Role of Conflict in Material Life
    -Applying Production Theory to Social and Cultural Life
    Why Do People Consume What They Do?
    -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
    How Does Culture Construct Utility?
    -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: Where Do Our Relatives Come From and Why Do They Matter?

    How Do Human Beings Organize Interdependence?
    What Is Friendship?
    -American College Student Friendship and Friendliness
    What Is Kinship?
    -Sex, Gender, and Kinship
    -How Many Sexes Are There?
    -Understanding Different Kinship Systems
    What Is the Role of Descent in Kinship?
    -Bilateral Kindreds
    -Unilineal Descent Groups
    What Role Do Lineages Play in Descent?
    -Lineage Membership
    -The Logic of Lineage Relationships
    -Matrilineality, Electoral Politics, and the Art of the Neutral Partisan
    What Are Kinship Terminologies?
    -Criteria for Distinguishing Kin
    What Is Adoption?
    -Adoption in Highland Ecuador
    How Flexible Can Relatedness Be?
    -Negotiation of Kin Ties among the Ju/'hoansi
    -Iñupiaq Relatedness
    -European American Kinship and New Reproductive Technologies
    -Compadrazgo in Latin America
    How Can Practices of Relatedness Produce Unexpected Outcomes?
    -Conflicting Obligations among the Iteso
    -Assisted Reproduction in Israel
    -Organ Transplantation and the Creation of New Relatives
    What Are Sodalities?
    -Secret Societies in Western Africa
    -Membership and Initiation
    -Use of the Kinship Idiom
    -The Thoma Secret Society: A Microcosm
    -The Meaning of Secrecy in a Secret Society
    The Dimensions of Group Life

    Chapter 11: Why Do People Get Married and Have Families?

    How Do Anthropologists Define Marriage?
    -Woman Marriage and Ghost Marriage among the Nuer
    Marriage as a Social Process
    -Patterns of Residence after Marriage
    -Single and Plural Spouses
    Polyandry, Sexuality, and the Reproductive Capacity of Women
    -Fraternal Polyandry
    -Associated Polyandry
    -Secondary Marriage
    -The Distinction between Sexuality and Reproductive Capacity
    What Is the Connection between Marriage and Economic Exchange?
    Brothers and Sisters in Cross-Cultural Perspective
    -Brothers and Sisters in a Matrilineal Society
    -Brothers and Sisters in a Patrilineal Society
    How Do Anthropologists Think about Family Structure?
    -The Family Defined
    -The Nuclear Family
    -The Polygynous Family
    -Competition in the Polygynous Family
    -Extended and Joint Families
    How Do Families Change over Time?
    -Divorce and Remarriage
    -Divorce in Guider
    -Grounds for Divorce
    -Separation among Inuit
    -Blended Families
    -Breaking Up Complex Households
    -International Migration and the Family
    -Families by Choice
    The Flexibility of Marriage
    How Do Sexual Practices Differ?
    -Heterosexual Practices
    -Other Sexual Practices
    -Female Sexual Practices in Mombasa
    -Male Sexual Practices in Nicaragua
    -Love, Marriage, and HIV/AIDS in Nigeria
    Sexuality and Power

    Chapter 12: What Can Anthropology Tell Us about Social Inequality?

    -Caste in India
    -Caste Struggle in Contemporary India
    -Caste in Western Africa
    -The Value of Caste as an Analytic Category
    -Race as a Social Category
    -Race in Colonial Oaxaca
    -Mobility in the Casta System
    -Colorism in Nicaragua
    -Ethnicity in Urban Africa
    -Ethnicity and Race
    Nation and Nation-State
    -Nationalities and Nationalism
    -Australian Nationalism
    -Naturalizing Discourses
    -The Paradox of Essentialized Identities
    -Nation-Building in a Postcolonial World: Fiji
    -Nationalism and Its Dangers

    Chapter 13: 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?
    -Health, human reproduction and global capitalism
    -The future of medical anthropology

    Chapter 14: What Can Anthropology Tell Us about Globalization?

    How Does Globalization Affect the Nation-State?
    -Are Global Flows Undermining Nation-States?
    -Migration, Transborder Identities, and Long-Distance Nationalism
    -Anthropology and Multicultural Politics in the New Europe
    -Flexible Citizenship
    -The Postnational Ethos
    Are Human Rights Universal?
    -Human Rights Discourse as the Global Language of Social Justice
    -Rights versus Culture
    -Rights to Culture
    -Rights as Culture
    How Can Culture Help in Thinking about Rights?
    -Violence against Women in Hawaii
    -Child Prostitution in Thailand
    Cultural Imperialism or Cultural Hybridity?
    -Cultural Imperialism
    -Cultural Hybridity
    -The Limits of Cultural Hybridity
    Can We Be at Home in a Global World?
    -Border Thinking
    Why Study Anthropology?