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Demonstrate the nature of culture and its influence on people’s lives.

For over 40 years, the best-selling Conformity and Conflict has brought together original readings and cutting edge research alongside classic works as a powerful way to study human behavior and events.

Its readings cover a broad range of theoretical perspectives and demonstrate basic anthropological concepts. The Fourteenth Edition incorporates successful articles from past editions and fresh ideas from the field to show fascinating perspectives on the human experience.

Teaching and Learning Experience

Personalize Learning - The new MyAnthroLab delivers proven results in helping students succeed, provides engaging experiences that personalize learning, and comes from a trusted partner with educational expertise and a deep commitment to helping students and instructors achieve their goals.

Improve Critical Thinking - Articles, article introductions and review questions encourage students to examine their assumptions, discern hidden values, evaluate evidence, assess their conclusions, and more!

Engage Students - Section parts, key terms, maps, a glossary and subject index all spark student interest and illustrate the text’s main points with examples and visuals from daily life.

Support Instructors - Teaching your course just got easier! You can Create a Customized Text or use our Instructor’s Manual, Electronic “MyTest” Test Bank or PowerPoint Presentation Slides. Additionally, Conformity and Conflict’s part introductions parallel the basic concepts taught in introductory courses – which allow the book to be used alone as a reader or in conjunction with a main text.

Note: MyAnthroLab does not come automatically packaged with this text. To purchase MyAnthroLab, please visit or you can purchase a valuepack of the text + MyAnthroLab (at no additional cost): VP ISBN-10: 0205176011/ISBN-13: 9780205176014

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205064618
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 7/26/2011
  • Edition number: 14
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.90 (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



World Map and Geographical Placement of Readings


Culture and Ethnography

1 Ethnography and Culture

James P. Spradley

To discover culture, the ethnographer must learn from the informant as a student.

2 Eating Christmas in the Kalahari

Richard Borshay Lee

The “generous” gift of a Christmas ox involves the anthropologist in a classic case of

cross-cultural misunderstanding.

3 Fieldwork on Prostitution in the Era of AIDS

Claire E. Sterk

Fieldwork among urban prostitutes means doing ethnography under difficult but, in the

end, manageable circumstances.

4 Nice Girls Don’t Talk to Rastas [Revised]

George Gmelch

Interaction between a U.S. student and a Rastafarian illustrates the destructive power of

naïve realism in the fieldwork setting.


Language and Communication [Revised]

5 Shakespeare in the Bush

Laura Bohannan

Cross-cultural communication breaks down when an anthropologist attempts to translate

the meaning of Hamlet to the Tiv.

6. Whorf Revisited: You Are What You Speak [NEW]

Guy Deutscher

New evidence supports Benjamin Lee Whorf’s contention that peoples’ mother tongue can

shape their experience of the world.

7. Managing Meaning: The Military Name Game

Sarah Boxer

To frame the meaning of its military operations, U.S. armed forces try to name them

positively without offending anyone.

8 Conversation Style: Talking on the Job

Deborah Tannen

On the job, men and women use distinctive conversation styles to ask for help, leading them to

evaluate performance and character differently.


Subsistence and Ecology

9 The Hunters: Scarce Resources in the Kalahari

Richard Borshay Lee

!Kung and other foragers traditionally worked less and ate better than many other people

with more “advanced” food producing techniques. Today, however, their survival depends

more on drilling wells and keeping cattle than on collecting wild foods.

10 Eskimo Science [NEW]

Richard Nelson

The knowledge developed by Eskimos to hunt successfully contains the same basic principles

that underlie a more formally structured scientific method.

11 Domestication and the Evolution of Disease

Jared Diamond

Herd animal diseases that evolved to infect humans have ended up killing millions of people

in the old and new world.

12 Forest Development the Indian Way [Revised]

Richard K. Reed

South American governments could learn much about tropical forest development from the

Amazonian Indians who live there.


Economic Systems

13 Reciprocity and the Power of Giving

Lee Cronk

Gifts not only function to tie people together, they may also be used to “flatten” an opponent and control

the behavior of others.

14 Poverty, Office Work, and the Crack Alternative

Philippe Bourgois

Poor, uneducated Puerto Rican men living in Spanish Harlem feel that the risks they run selling drugs are preferable

to the disrespect they encounter as low-wage employees in New York’s financial and service companies.

15 Cocaine and the Economic Deterioration of Bolivia

Jack Weatherford

The world market for cocaine robs Bolivian villages of their men and causes problems for health, nutrition,

transportation, and family.

16 Malawi versus the World Bank

Sonia Patten

Malawi government’s successful state subsidized fertilizer program challenges the World Bank and

IMF’s insistence on market-driven agricultural programs.


Kinship and Family

17 Mother’s Love: Death without Weeping

Nancy Scheper-Hughes

Close mother-child bonds suffered in the presence of high infant mortality in a Brazilian shantytown

although recent changes have reduced the problem to some degree.

18 Family and Kinship in Village India

David W. McCurdy

Kinship still organizes the lives of Bhil villagers despite economic opportunities that draw people away

from the community and dependence on relatives.

19 Polyandry: When Brothers Take a Wife

Melvyn C. Goldstein

By jointly marrying one woman, Tibetan brothers preserve family resources and the “good life.”

20 Uterine Families and the Women’s Community

Margery Wolf

To succeed in a traditional patrilineal family, a Chinese woman had to create her own informal uterine

family inside her husband’s household.


Identity, Roles, and Groups

21 You@Work: Jobs, Identity, and the Internet [NEW]

Brenda Mann

Today’s U.S. job mobility requires “branding” one’s identity through careful use of the Internet.

22 The Opt Out Phenomenon: Women, Work, and Identity in America [Revised and retitled]

Dianna Shandy

Why were young, educated professional women leaving high-paying jobs for a life at home and what

difference has today’s tough economy made?

23 Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? [NEW]

Lila Abu-Lughod

Americans should work for justice in the world, not save Muslim women from wearing burqas or

following their Islamic religion.

24 Mixed Blood

Jefferson M. Fish

A woman can change her race from black to “brunette” by taking a plane from New York to Brazil.


Law and Politics

25 Cross-Cultural Law: The Case of the Gypsy Offender

Anne Sutherland

Legal cultures clash when a young Gypsy is convicted of using someone else’s social security number

to apply for a car loan.

26 Life without Chiefs

Marvin Harris

Small societies based on reciprocal and redistributive economic exchange can do without officials.

27 The Founding Indian Fathers

Jack Weatherford

Although their contribution goes unrecognized, Indian, especially Iroquoian, political structure may

have served as a model that helped to produce a United States federal government


Religion, Magic, and World View

28 Taraka’s Ghost

Stanley A. Freed and Ruth S. Freed

A woman relieves her anxiety and gains family support when a friend’s ghost possesses her.

29 Baseball Magic [Revised]

George Gmelch

American baseball players from the games introduction to today employ magical practices as they

try to deal with the uncertainty of their game.

30 Run for the Wall: An American Pilgrimage

Jill Dubisch

An annual ritual motorcycle pilgrimage from Los Angles to Washington, DC personally transforms

the Vietnam veterans and others who ride in it.

31 Body Ritual Among the Nacirema

Horace Miner

The Nacirema display a complex array of body rituals aimed at achieving health and beauty.



32 How Sushi Went Global [Brought back from previous edition]

Theodore C. Bestor

International interdependence between tuna fishermen and sushi as a Japanese culinary style

becomes popular in a globalized world.

33 Village Walks: Tourism and Globalization among the Tharu of Nepal [NEW}

Arjun Guneratne and Kate Bjork

Advertised as a primitive tribe, Tharu villagers endure tours that falsely treat them as part of the

Chitwan National Forest’s natural history and have responded by building a museum to separate their

past from the present.

34 The Road to Refugee Resettlement [Revised]

Dianna Shandy

Nuer refugees must develop the skill and determination to pass through a series of bureaucratic

hurdles to reach and adjust to life in the United States.

35 Global Women in the New Economy

Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russell Hochschild

Millions of women migrate from poor to wealthy nations serving as nannies, maids, and sex workers. T

hey send money home but find it hard to separate from their countries and families.


Culture Change and Applied Anthropology xxx

36 Suggestions for Developers: The Peace Corps Problems in Botswana [NEW}

Hoyt S. Alverson

An anthropologist discovers why some Peace Corps volunteers fail to complete their assignments in rural

Botswana, citing perceptions of their role and naïve realism as the basic problems.

37 Medical Anthropology: Leprosy on the Ganges [NEW]

Ron Barrett

Indians who contract leprosy find themselves stigmatized for life, causing them to delay treatment or amplify symptoms to

enhance begging.

38 Public Interest Ethnography: Women’s Prisons and Health Care in California [NEW]

Rachael Stryker

Student ethnographers uncover institutional health care problems at two women’s prisons in California and

suggest changes that result in a revision of state policy.

39 Using Anthropology

David McCurdy

Professional anthropologists do everything from ethnographies of automobile production lines to famine relief,

but even the neophyte may be able to use the ideas of culture and ethnography to succeed in the workplace.

40 Career Advice for Anthropology Undergraduates

John T. Omohundro

The ability to translate useful anthropological skills into “resume speak” is one way for anthropology graduates

to find employment.



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