Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology / Edition 12

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An ideal complement to standard anthropology texts or as a stand-alone reader, Conformity and Conflict continues to offer an in-depth look at anthropology as a powerful way to study human behavior and events. The articles cover a broad range of theoretical perspectives and demonstrate basic anthropological concepts. The tenth edition retains the accessibility of the previous editions: a combination of professionalism and readability in selections; the view that anthropology provides perspective on experience; and a carefully integrated organization. Presents balanced coverage of non-Western and Western cultures (including American) so readers can make their own cultural comparisons and see the relevance of anthropology to their lives. Contains articles that reflect interesting topics while illustrating key concepts and theories. Organizes selections based on traditional topics such as Language and Communication, Economic Systems, Kinship and Family, and Religion. Includes key terms and discussion of many basic anthropological definitions in the part introductions. Provides review questions at the end of each article. Retains the maps, providing readers with a way to locate the societies discussed in the book. For anyone interested in cultural anthropology.
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Editorial Reviews

Spradley and McCurdy cover a broad range of theoretical perspectives and present basic anthropological concepts in this text, which can be used as a complement to standard anthropolgy texts or as a stand- alone text/reader. Of the thirty-nine articles in the 11th edition, eleven are new, five are revised and updated, and one has been brought back from earlier editions. All sections have at least one new or revised article. The text contains up-to-date theory and discussion on current issues in the field, such as medical anthropology, race and ethnicity, cultural econology, and globalization. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205593286
  • Publisher: Allyn & Bacon, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/12/2007
  • Series: MyAnthroKit Series
  • Edition number: 12
  • Pages: 462
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

In This Section:
I. Author Bios

II. Author Letter

I. Author Bio

James P. Spradley was a professor of Anthropology at Macalester College from 1962 until his passing in 1982. He was a prolific author who wrote or edited 20 books in 12 years. He made especially notable contributions to the literature on ethnography and qualitative research.

David McCurdy has been a professor of Anthropology at Macalester since 1966, acting as chair of the department for extended periods since 1969. He was the first recipient of the American Anthropological Association/ Mayfield Award for Undergraduate Teaching (1997), and he was the subject of an article in 1977 by Change Magazine for innovative teaching in anthropology. Professor McCurdy received a B.A. from Cornell University in 1957, a Masters in Anthropology from Stanford University in 1959, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Cornell Univeristy in 1964.

He completed a major ethnography (1961-1963), then restudy (1985, 1991, 1994) of a Bhil tribal community in Rajasthan, India. He has also conducted a cross-cultural study of spirit possession (1966-1967). His ethnographic studies have examined corporate managers (1983), stockbrokers (1980), Jehovah witnesses (1973), as well as members of an environment movement (1968-1969). He has also performed continued ethnography (1988-1999) on a national motocycle association.

II. Author Letter

Dear Colleague,

Forty-one years ago, James Spradley and I prepared the first edition of an introductory anthology, CONFORMITY AND CONFLICT: Readings in Cultural Anthropology. Regularly revised since then, CONFORMITY ... will appear in its fourteenth edition this coming summer. I write to share with you some of its enduring features and report on what is new for the coming version.

From the beginning, Jim and I sought to design a reader that was accessible to students and useful to anthropology instructors. We searched for articles written by anthropologists for the public since, like the public, students rarely had previous experience with our discipline. Where suitable articles were unavailable, we asked anthropologists to write selections especially designed for CONFORMITY ... using a narrative style. To enhance interest, we also chose material that dealt with current topics and American life so students could see how anthropology might reveal aspects of their own lives and social settings. For instructors, we organized the book around typical cultural anthropology texts. And, we sought out articles that stressed the importance of culture, cross-cultural misunderstanding, social structure, basic approaches to explanation, and social justice. As time went on, I added part introductions that discussed and defined basic anthropological terms and approaches for use by instructors who chose not to assign regular textbooks. More recently, I added additional selections on globalization, medical anthropology, and applied anthropology since these topics have become more important to anthropologists and students.

The fourteenth edition mirrors this general plan and contains fresh material to enhance student interest and understanding. Additions include:

• Eight new articles, four of them written especially for this edition.

• Updates and revisions of five articles found in the thirteenth edition.

• Two articles brought back from previous editions.

• Discussion of two new concepts, metaphor and linguistic framing, for Part 2 (Language and Communication), as well as an exciting new article on current research related to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.

• Addition to Part 3 (Subsistence and Ecology) of a new article on Eskimo "science" and a second selection brought back from a previous edition detailing the relation between animal domestication and the development and spread of pandemic diseases.

• Two new articles in Part 6 (Identity, Roles, and Groups) including one original to this edition on the how the Internet shapes one's work identity in America, and a second on Western women's reactions to Muslim women's dress.

• A new original article on tourism and a second brought back about globalization added to Part 9 (Globalization.)

• Three new articles, two of them original, included in Part 10 (Culture Change and Applied Anthropology).

In closing, I hope you will take a look at the fourteenth edition and find that it meets your instructional needs and those of your students. And as always, I encourage you to send me your comments, suggestions, and ideas for future articles, as well as your own original submissions.

All the best,

David W. McCurdy

Macalester College

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Table of Contents

Each new article is indicated by a “*” .

World Map and Geographical Placement of Readings.



1. James P. Spradley, Ethnography and Culture.

2. Richard Borshay Lee, Eating Christmas in the Kalahari.

3. Laura Bohannan, Shakespeare in the Bush.

*4. Claire E. Sterk, Fieldwork on Prostitution in the Era of AIDS.

5. George Gmelch, Lessons from the Field.


*6. Martin A. Nowak, Homo Grammaticus.

*7. Enid Schildkrout, Body Art as Visual Language.

8. David S. Thomson, Worlds Shaped by Words.

*9. Sarah Boxer, The Military Name.

10. Deborah Tannen, Conversation Style: Talking on the Job.


11. Richard Borshay Lee, The Hunters: Scarce Resources in the Kalahari.

12. Jared Diamond, Adaptive Failure: Easter's End.

*13. Richard K. Reed, Cultivating the Tropical Forest.

14. Jared Diamond, Domestication and the Evolution of Disease.


15. Lee Cronk, Reciprocity and the Power of Giving.

16. Jack Weatherford, Cocaine and the Economic Deterioration of Bolivia.

17. Philippe Bourgois, Workaday World Crack Economy.


*19. Theodore C. Bestor, How Sushi Went Global.


20. Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Mother's Love: Death Without Weeping.

21. David W. McCurdy, Family and Kinship in Village India.

*22. Lu Yuan and Sam Mitchell, Matrilineal Kinship: Walking Marriage in China.

23. Margery Wolf, Uterine Families and the Women's Community.


24. Elizabeth W. Fernea and Robert A. Fernea, Symbolizing Roles: Behind the Veil.

25. Ernestine Friedl, Society and Sex Roles.

26. Jeffrey M. Fish, Mixed Blood.

27. Jack Weatherford, Blood on the Steppes: Ethnicity, Power, and Conflict.

*28. Dianna Shandy, New Americans: the Road to Refugee Resettlement.


*29. James P. Spradley and David W. McCurdy, Law and Order.

30. Anne Sutherland, Cross-Cultural Law: The Case of the Gypsy Offender.

*31. Marvin Harris, Life Without Chiefs.


32. Stanley A. Freed and Ruth S. Freed, Taraka's Ghost.

33. George Gmelch, Baseball Magic.

*34. Charlanne Burke, Witchcraft Tswana Style.

35. Stephen C. Leavitt, Cargo Beliefs and Religious Experience.


*37. Sonia Patten, Medical Anthropology: Improving Nutrition in Malawi.

38. David W. McCurdy, Using Anthropology.

39. John T. Omohundro, Career Advice for Anthropology Undergraduates.


Photo Credits.


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