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Cultural Anthropology

Cultural Anthropology

12th Edition
  • Serena Nanda - John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York
  • Richard L. Warms - Texas State University - San Marcos, USA
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February 2019 | 456 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

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Cultural Anthropology integrates critical thinking, explores rich ethnographies, and prompts students to skillfully explore and study today’s world. Readers will better understand social structures by examining themselves, their own cultures, and cultures from across the globe. Serena Nanda and Richard L. Warms show how historical studies and anthropological techniques can help students think about the nature, structure, and meaning of human societies. With a practical emphasis on areas such as medicine, forensics, and advocacy, this book takes an applied approach to anthropology.

The authors cover a broad range of historical and contemporary theories and apply them to real-world global issues. The Twelfth Edition includes a wealth of new examples, along with updated statistical information and ethnographies that help students see the range of human possibilities.

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 The Field Journal for Cultural Anthropology by Jessica Bodoh-Creed is FREE when you bundle with Cultural Anthropology, 12e. Use bundle ISBN: 978-1-5443-7687-5

About the Authors
Chapter 1. Anthropology and Human Diversity
Specialization in Anthropology  
Some Critical Issues in Anthropology  
Why Study Anthropology?  
Chapter 2. Doing Cultural Anthropology
Anthropology in Historical Perspective  
Anthropological Techniques  
Some Critical Issues in Ethnography  
Ethical Considerations in Fieldwork  
New Roles for the Ethnographer  
Chapter 3. The Idea of Culture
Defining Culture  
Culture Is Made Up of Learned Behaviors  
Culture Is the Way Humans Use Symbols to Classify Their World and Give It Meaning  
Culture Is an Integrated System—Or Is It?  
Culture Is a Shared System of Norms and Values—Or Is It?  
Culture Is the Way Human Beings Adapt to the World  
Culture Is Constantly Changing  
Culture Counts  
Chapter 4. Communication
Origins and Acquisition of Human Language  
The Structure of Language  
Language and Culture  
Nonverbal Communication  
Language Change  
Chapter 5. Making a Living
Human Adaptation and the Environment  
An Overview of Subsistence Strategies  
Chapter 6. Economics
Economic Behavior  
Allocating Resources  
Organizing Labor  
Distribution: Systems of Exchange and Consumption  
Chapter 7. Political Organization
Social Differentiation  
Power and Social Control  
Types of Political Organization  
The Nation–State  
Chapter 8. Stratification
Explaining Social Stratification  
Class and Caste in Social Stratification  
Stratification and Race  
Stratification and Ethnicity  
Chapter 9. Kinship
Kinship: Relationships Through Descent and Marriage  
Unilineal Descent Groups  
Nonunilineal Kinship Systems  
The Classification of Kin  
Principles for Classifying Kin  
Types of Kinship Systems  
Chapter 10. Marriage, Family, and Domestic Groups
Functions of Marriage and the Family  
Marriage Rules  
Monogamy, Polygyny, and Polyandry  
Exchange of Goods and Rights in Marriage  
Different Kinds of Families  
Families and Globalization  
Chapter 11. Gender
Sex, Sexuality, and Gender  
The Cultural Construction of Gender  
Gender Ideologies: Women’s Sexuality and Male Prestige Behavior  
Controlling Female Sexuality  
Variability in Gender and Sexuality  
Theories of Gender and Stratification  
Gender Relations and Systems of Production  
Gender and Globalization  
Chapter 12. Religion
What Religion Does in Society  
Characteristics of Religion  
Rituals and Ways of Addressing the Supernatural  
Religious Practitioners  
Religion and Change  
Chapter 13. Creative Expression
Art in Its Cultural Context  
Some Functions of Art  
Art, Culture, and Symbolism  
Art and the Expression of Cultural Themes  
Art and Politics  
Art and the Expression of Identities  
Art and Representing the Other  
Marketing World Art  
Chapter 14. Power, Conquest, and a World System
European Expansion: Motives and Methods  
The Era of Colonialism  
Making Colonialism Pay  
An Interconnected but Unstable World  
Chapter 15. Culture, Change, and the Modern World
The Changing Political and Economic Environment  
The Persistence of Poverty and Instability  
Multinational Corporations  
Population Pressure  
Environmental Challenges  
The Rights of Indigenous People  
Appendix: A Brief Historical Guide to Anthropological Theory
19th-Century Evolutionism  
The Early Sociologists  
Boas and American Anthropology  
Culture and Personality  
Cultural Ecology and Neo-Evolutionism  
Neomaterialism: Evolutionary, Functionalist, Ecological, and Marxist  
Ethnoscience and Cognitive Anthropology  
Sociobiology, Evolutionary Psychology, and Behavioral Ecology  
Anthropology and Gender  
Symbolic and Interpretive Anthropology  
Anthropology and Globalization  
Structure and Agency: Practice Theory approaches  


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“This book is the complete package. No more and no less is needed to teach cultural anthropology. The book helps my students see the world bigger, but feel like the world is smaller.” 

Tiffany M. Blackmon
Northern Virginia Community College

“Well written. The prose and narrative are easy to follow and is great to engage and hold student interest. It’s has relevant references to applications of anthropology to real world events, circumstances and activities.” 

David Julian Hodges
Hunter College (CUNY)

“An updated take on the classic intro anthropology text that includes recent national and world developments and conversations”   

Heather York
Southern New Hampshire University

“This book focuses on social structures and it helps students look at themselves in their culture versus different cultures to better understand the social structures and institutions. The authors really put themselves into the shoes of the student in a beginning cultural anthropology course.”


Roxanne Gerbrandt
Austin Peay State University
Key features
  • Learning Objectives help students center and focus on the chapter's key points, and are phrased using Bloom's Taxonomy of Measurable Verbs and move toward the critical thinking end of the taxonomy.
  • Ethnography features take in-depth looks at specific cultures, teaches students about the basic tool of anthropology, and helps students think about and figure out themselves.
  • Anthropology Makes a Difference features show students what they can do with an anthropology degree.
  • Global and Local features deal directly with current social issues and shows the direct relevance of anthropology to current events.
  • Unique chapter summaries are phrased in the form of questions that are then answered for a more applied feel and helps get students actively thinking.
  • A carefully developed visual and pedagogical program inspires students to see the world through an anthropological lens.
  • The book covers both historical and contemporary theories without any insistence on any particular approach. 
  • Contemporary, real-world global issues appeal to any introductory student from any discipline. 

Sample Materials & Chapters

6. Economics

11. Gender

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