Cultural Anthropology: Asking Questions About Humanity

Paperback | December 1, 2014

byRobert L. Welsch, Luis A. Vivanco

not yet rated|write a review
What is cultural anthropology, and how is it relevant in today's world?Robert L. Welsch and Luis A. Vivanco's Cultural Anthropology: Asking Questions About Humanity uses a questions-based approach to teach students how to think anthropologically, helping them view cultural issues and everyday experiences as an anthropologist might.Inspired by the common observation that 99 percent of a good answer is a good question, Cultural Anthropology: Asking Questions About Humanity combines a question-centered pedagogy with the topics typically covered in an introductory course. It emphasizes upfront what the discipline of anthropologyknows and which issues are in debate, and how a cultural perspective is relevant to understanding social, political, and economic dynamics in the contemporary world. Cultural Anthropology: Asking Questions About Humanity also represents an effort to close the gap between the realities of thediscipline today and traditional views that are taught at the introductory level by bringing classic anthropological examples, cases, and analyses to bear on contemporary questions.

Pricing and Purchase Info


Ships within 1-3 weeks
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

What is cultural anthropology, and how is it relevant in today's world?Robert L. Welsch and Luis A. Vivanco's Cultural Anthropology: Asking Questions About Humanity uses a questions-based approach to teach students how to think anthropologically, helping them view cultural issues and everyday experiences as an anthropologist might.Insp...

Robert L. Welsch is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Franklin Pierce College. Luis A. Vivanco is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Co-Director of the Humanities Center at the University of Vermont.

other books by Robert L. Welsch

Voyages of Discovery
Voyages of Discovery

Kobo ebook|Aug 30 2005

$13.09 online$16.99list price(save 22%)
Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Anthropology
Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Anthropology

Paperback|Mar 26 2012

$54.11 online$74.95list price(save 27%)
Format:PaperbackDimensions:496 pages, 11 × 8.5 × 0.68 inPublished:December 1, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199925720

ISBN - 13:9780199925728

Look for similar items by category:


Extra Content

Table of Contents

Letter from the AuthorsAbout the AuthorsPrefaceAcknowledgements1. Anthropology: Asking Questions about HumanityHow Did Anthropology Begin?The Disruptions of IndustrializationThe Theory of EvolutionColonial Origins of Cultural AnthropologyAnthropology as a Global DisciplineWhat Are the Four Subfields of Anthropology, and What Do They Share in Common?CultureCultural RelativismHuman DiversityChangeHolismHow Do Anthropologists Know What They Know?The Scientific Method in AnthropologyWhen Anthropology Is Not a Science: Interpreting Other CulturesHow Is Anthropology Put to Work in the World?Applied and Practicing Anthropology: "The Fifth Subfield"?Putting Anthropology to WorkWhat Ethical Issues Does Anthropology Raise?Do Not Harm. But Is That Enough?To Whom Are Anthropologists Responsible?Classic Contributions: E.B. Tylor and the Culture ConceptThinking like an Anthropologist: Anthropological Responsibilities to Informants and People in AuthorityDoing Fieldwork: Conducting Holistic Research with Stanley Ulijaszek2. Culture: Giving Meaning to Human LivesWhat Is Culture?Elements of CultureDefining Culture in This BookIf Culture Is Emergent and Dynamic, Why Does It Feel So Stable?SymbolsValuesNormsTraditionsHow Is Culture Expressed through Social Institutions?Culture and Social InstitutionsAmerican Culture Expressed through Breakfast Cereals and SexualityCan Anybody Own Culture?Classic Contributions: Franz Boas and the Relativity of CultureThinking like an Anthropologist: Understanding HolismAnthropologist as Problem Solver: Michael Ames and Collaborative Museum Exhibits3. Beyond Nature and Nurture: The Individual, Biology, and CultureWhat Can the Biology of Brain Development Teach Us about Culture?The Adaptable Human BrainThe Mind and CultureUniting Mind and Matter: A Biocultural PerspectiveHow Do Anthropologists Understand Other Peoples' Psychologies?What Is an Individual Person?The Culture and Personality SchoolThe Individual: Persons and SelvesEthnopsychologyCulture and Mental IllnessWhat Role Does Evolution Play in Human Lives?Understanding Evolution among Human PopulationsRacism and Early Evolutionary Models in AnthropologyFranz Boas and AntievolutionismMoving Beyond Purely Biological Notions of EvolutionIs Biotechnology Changing Our Bodies?How Genes Work: The BasicsThe Dilemmas of GeneticizationClassic Contributions: Ruth Benedict, the Individual, and CultureThinking Like an Anthropologist: Controversies over I.Q. Testing and Mother-Infant BondingAnthropologist as Problem Solver: Kim Hopper, Homelessness, and the Mentally Ill in New York City4. Linguistic Anthropology: Relating Language and CultureWhere Does Language Come From?Evolutionary Perspectives on LanguageHistorical Linguistics: Studying Language Origins and ChangeHow Does Language Actually Work?Descriptive LinguisticsPhonology: Sounds of LanguageMorphology: Grammatical CategoriesSociolinguisticsDo People Speaking Different Languages Experience Reality Differently?The Sapir-Whorf HypothesisHopi Notions of TimeEthnoscience and Color TermsIs The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis Correct?How Can Languages Be So Dynamic and Stable at the Same Time?Linguistic Change, Stability, and National PolicyLanguage Stability Parallels Cultural StabilityHow Does Language Relate to Social Power and Inequality?Language IdeologyGendered Language StylesLanguage and Social StatusLanguage and the Legacy of ColonialismClassic Contributions: Edward Sapir on How Language Shapes CultureThinking like an Anthropologist: Exploring Relationships of Power and Status in Local American DialectsDoing Fieldwork: Untangling Language Ideologies in Contemporary Egypt5. Ethnography: Studying CultureWhat Is So Distinctive about Anthropological Fieldwork?FieldworkTaking Field NotesSeeing the World from "The Native's Point of View"Avoiding Cultural "Tunnel Vision"Aside from Participant Observation and Interviews, Do Anthropologists Use Other Methods?Comparative MethodGenealogical MethodLife HistoryEthnohistoryRapid AppraisalsAction ResearchAnthropology at a DistanceAnalyzing Secondary MaterialsSpecial Issues Facing Anthropologists Studying Their Own SocietiesWhat Special Ethical Dilemmas Do Ethnographers Face?Protecting Informant IdentityAnthropology, Spying, and WarClassic Contributions: Bronislaw Malinowski on the Ethnographic MethodThinking like an Anthropologist: Fieldwork in an American MallAnthropologist as Problem Solver: Alcida Rita Ramos and Indigenous Rights in Brazil6. Globalization and Culture: Understanding Global InterconnectionsIs the World Really Getting Smaller?Defining GlobalizationThe World We Live InAre There Winners and Losers in Global Integration?World Systems TheoryResistance at the PeripheryGlobalization and LocalizationDoesn't Everyone Want to Be Developed?What Is Development?Development AnthropologyAnthropology of DevelopmentChange on Their Own TermsIf the World Is Not Becoming Homogenized, What Is It Becoming?Cultural Convergence TheoriesClash of CivilizationsHybridizationWhat Strategies Can Anthropologists Use to Study Global Interconnections?Defining an Object of StudyMulti-Sited EthnographyClassic Contributions: Eric Wolf, Culture, and the World SystemThinking like an Anthropologist: Understanding Global Integration Through CommoditiesDoing Fieldwork: Studying Chernobyl's Aftermath with Adriana Petryna7. Foodways: Finding, Making, and Eating FoodWhy Is There No Universal Human Diet?Human Dietary Adaptability and ConstraintsCultural Influences on Human Evolution: Digesting MilkWhy Do People Eat Things That Others Consider Disgusting?Foodways and CultureFoodways are Culturally-ConstructedFoodways Communicate Symbolic MeaningFoodways Mark Social Boundaries and IdentitiesFoodways are DynamicHow Do Different Societies Get Food?ForagingHorticulturePastoralismIntensive AgricultureIndustrial AgricultureHow Are Contemporary Foodways Changing?Growing Environmental Impacts of Industrial AgricultureIndustrial Foods, Sedentary Lives, and the Nutrition TransitionThe Return of Local and Organic Foods?The Biocultural Logic of Local FoodwaysClassic Contributions: Audrey Richards and the Study of FoodwaysThinking like an Anthropologist: Food Preferences and GenderAnthropologist as Problem-Solver: Migrant Farmworker Food Security in Vermont with Teresa Mares8. Environmental Anthropology: Relating to the Natural WorldDo All People Conceive of Nature in the Same Way?The Human-Nature DivideThe Cultural LandscapeHow Is Non-Western Knowledge of Nature Similar to and Different from Science?EthnoscienceTraditional Ecological KnowledgeDo Only Industrialized Western Societies Conserve Nature?Artifactual LandscapesThe Culture of Modern Nature ConservationIs Collaborative Conservation Possible?How Do Social and Cultural Factors Drive Environmental Destruction?Population and EnvironmentEcological FootprintPolitical EcologyClassic Contributions: Roy Rappaport's Insider and Outsider ModelsThinking like an Anthropologist: Identifying Hidden CostsDoing Fieldwork: James Fairhead and Melissa Leach on Misreading the African Landscape9. Economics: Working, Sharing, and BuyingIs Money Really the Measure of All Things?Culture, Economics, and ValueThe Neo-Classical PerspectiveThe Substantivist-Formalist DebateThe Marxist PerspectiveThe Cultural Economics PerspectiveHow Does Culture Shape the Value and Meaning of Money Itself?The Types and Cultural Dimensions of MoneyWhy Is Gift Exchange Such an Important Part of All Societies?Gift Exchange and Economy: Two Classic ApproachesGift Exchange in Market-Based EconomicsWhy Does Having Some Things Make You Cool?Are There Distinct Cultures of Capitalism?Culture and Social Relations on Wall StreetEntrepreneurial Capitalism among MalaysClassic Contributions: Marshall Sahlins on Exchange in Traditional EconomiesThinking like an Anthropologist: The Role of Exchange in Managing Social RelationshipsAnthropologist as Problem Solver: Ashraf Ghani and the Reconstruction of the Afghan Economy10. Politics: Cooperation, Conflict, and Power RelationsDoes Every Society Have a Government?The Idea of "Politics" and the Problem of OrderStructural-Functionalist Models of Political StabilityNeo-Evolutionary Models of Political Organization: Bands, Tribes, Chiefdoms, and StatesChallenges to Traditional Political AnthropologyWhat Is Political Power?Defining Political PowerPolitical Power Is Action-OrientedPolitical Power Is StructuralPolitical Power Is GenderedPolitical Power in Non-State SocietiesThe Political Power of the Contemporary Nation-StateWhy Do Some Societies Seem More Violent Than Others?What Is Violence?Violence and CultureExplaining the Rise of Violence in Our Contemporary WorldHow Do People Avoid Cycles of Aggression, Brutality, and War?What Disputes Are "About"How People Manage DisputesIs Restoring Harmony Always the Best Way?Classic Contributions: E.E. Evans-Pritchard on Segmentary LineagesThinking like an Anthropologist: The Power of Personal ConnectionsAnthropologist as Problem Solver: Maxwell Owusu and Democracy in Ghana11. Race, Ethnicity, and Class: Understanding Identity and Social InequalityAre Differences of Race Also Differences of Biology?The Biological Meanings (and Meaningless) of "Human Races"Race Does Have Biological ConsequencesHow Is Race Culturally Constructed?The Absence of Race in Colonial VirginiaHow Africans Became "Black" and Europeans Became "White" in Seventeenth Century VirginiaThe One Drop RuleRacialization in Latin AmericaSaying "Race Is Culturally Constructed" Is Not EnoughHow Are Other Social Classifications Like Ethnicity, Class, and Caste Naturalized?Ethnicity: Common DescentClass: Economic Hierarchy in Capitalist SocietiesCaste: Moral Purity and PollutionAre Prejudice and Discrimination Inevitable?Understanding PrejudiceDiscrimination, Explicit and DisguisedThe Other Side of Discrimination: Unearned PrivilegeClassic Contributions: Hortense Powdermaker on PrejudiceThinking like an Anthropologist: Counting and Classifying Race in the American CensusDoing Fieldwork: Tamie Tsuchiyama and Fieldwork in a Japanese-American Internment Camp12. Gender, Sex, and Sexuality: The Lives of Women and MenIn What Ways Are Males and Females Different?Toward a Biocultural Perspective on Male and Female DifferencesRethinking the Male-Female DichotomyHormones and Differences in Male and Female BehaviorIn What Ways Are Men and Women Unequal?Debating "The Second Sex"Taking Stock of the DebateReproducing Gender/Sex InequalitiesWhat Does It Mean to Be Neither Male Nor Female?Navajo N dleeheIndian Hijras"Transgender" in the U.S.Is Human Sexuality Just a Matter of Being Straight or Queer?Cultural Perspectives on Same-Sex SexualityControlling SexualityClassic Contributions: Margaret Mead and the Sex/Gender DistinctionThinking like an Anthropologist: The Ethics of Research and Advocacy with Transgender PeopleDoing Fieldwork: Don Kulick and 'Coming Out' in the Field13. Kinship, Marriage, and the Family: Love, Sex, and PowerWhat Are Families, and How Are They Structured in Different Societies?Families, Ideal and RealNuclear and Extended FamiliesClans and LineagesKinship TerminologiesHow Do Families Control Power and Wealth?Claiming a BrideRecruiting the KidsThe Dowry in India: Providing a Financial Safety Net for a BrideControlling Family Wealth through InheritanceInheritance Rules in Nonindustrial SocietiesWhy Do People Get Married?Forms of MarriageSex, Love, and the Power of Families over Young CouplesHow Are Technological Changes Reshaping How People Think about Family?In Vitro FertilizationSurrogate Mothers and Sperm DonorsClassic Contributions: A.L. Kroeber on Classificatory Systems of RelationshipThinking like an Anthropologist: Genealogical Amnesia in Bali, Indonesia, and in the United StatesDoing Fieldwork: Ellen Lewin on Studying Lesbian and Gay Commitment Ceremonies14. Religion: Ritual and BeliefHow Should We Understand Religion and Religious Beliefs?Understanding Religion version 1.0: Edward B. Tylor and Belief in SpiritsUnderstanding Religion version 2.0: Anthony F. C. Wallace on Supernatural Beings, Powers, and ForcesUnderstanding Religion version 3.0: Religion as a System of SymbolsUnderstanding Religion version 4.0: Religion as a System of Social ActionUnderstanding Suicide Bomber AttacksWhat Forms Does Religion Take?Clan Spirits and Clan Identities in New GuineaTotemism and Clan Spirits Among the Aboriginal AustraliansTotemism in North AmericaShamanism and Ecstatic Religious ExperiencesRitual Symbols That Reinforce the Existing Social OrderPolythesim and Monotheism in the Social Order in Ancient SocietiesWorld Religions and Universal Understandings of the WorldHow Does Atheism fit in the discussion?How Do Rituals Work?Magical Thought in Non-Western CulturesSympathetic Magic: The Law of Similarity and the Law of ContagionMagic in Western SocietiesRites of Passage and the Ritual ProcessHow Is Religion Linked to Political and Social Action?The Rise of FundamentalismUnderstanding FundamentalismReligion and Group IdentitiesRitual Symbols and the Social OrderClassic Contributions: Sir James G. Frazer on Sympathetic MagicThinking like an Anthropologist: Examining Rites of PassageDoing Fieldwork: Studying the Sikh Militants15. Medical Anthropology: Health, Illness, and CultureWhat Do We Mean by Health and Illness?The Individual Subjectivity of IllnessThe "Sick Role": The Social Expectations of IllnessHow and Why Do Doctors and Other Health Practitioners Gain Social Authority?The Disease-Illness Distinction: Professional and Popular Views of SicknessThe Medicalization of the Non-MedicalHow Does Healing Happen?Clinical Therapeutic ProcessesSymbolic Therapeutic ProcessesSocial SupportPersuasion: the Placebo EffectWhat Can Anthropology Contribute to Addressing Global Health Problems?Understanding Global Health ProblemsAnthropological Contributions to Tackling the International HIV/AIDS CrisisClassic Contributions: Arthur Kleinman and the New Medical Anthropological MethodologyThinking like an Anthropologist: The Emergence of New Disease CategoriesAnthropologist as Problem Solver: Nancy Scheper-Hughes on an Engaged Anthropology of Health16. The Arts: Objects, Images, and CommoditiesHow Should We Look at Art Objects Anthropologically?The Many Dimensions of ObjectsA Shiny New Bicycle, in Multiple DimensionsAn Anthropological Perspective on AestheticsWhy and How Do the Meanings of Things Change over Time?The Social Life of ThingsThree Ways Objects Change over TimeHow Do Certain Objects Come to Represent Peoples' Goals and Aspirations?The Cultural Biography of ThingsThe Culture of Mass ConsumptionHow Can Some People Use Objects to Manipulate Us?How Do Images Shape the Worlds in Which People Live?The Power of Visual MediaManipulating ImagesFilms Have Social Lives, TooClassic Contributions: Nancy Munn on Graphic Signs among the Walbiri of the Australian DesertThinking like an Anthropologist: Looking at Objects from Multiple PerspectivesDoing Fieldwork: Christina Kreps Studies Indigenous Indonesian Perceptions of MuseumsGlossaryReferencesPhoto CreditsIndex

Editorial Reviews

"This book makes cultural anthropology come alive." --Neeraj Vedwan, Montclair State University