Cultural Anthropology: A Problem-Based Approach / Edition 3

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Learn anthropology within a strong active learning environment when you open Robbins' unique Fifth Edition. This brief, cost-effective text presents a variety of questions focused on the most important issues anthropologists study in first of-of-its-kind, problem-based format. You'll find yourself thinking critically about today's world as you read engaging Chapter Openers, complete integrated exercises, and review unique Case Studies in Doing Anthropology at the end of each chapter, now with new locator maps for your convenience. Robbins's text presents a variety of questions focused on the most important issues anthropologists study in a unique, problem-based format. Within the book's engaging narrative, you'll learn how to analyze your own culture as a basis for understanding the cultures of others. Presentations organized around problems rather than topics, creating a natural discussion of traditional concerns, such as kinship, caste, gender roles, and religion. Meaningful questions integrated throughout further guide you in exploring these subjects.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780875814438
  • Publisher: Wadsworth
  • Publication date: 4/28/2001
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 320

Meet the Author

Richard H. Robbins is a distinguished teaching professor of anthropology at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. His teaching interests include courses on global problems, utopian societies, comparative religion, and activist anthropology. He has conducted research among indigenous peoples of Canada and fishing communities in northeastern New Brunswick. His recent books Include Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism, 4e; Darwin and the Bible The Cultural Confrontation (With Mark Cohen); and Globalization and the Environment (with Gary Kroll). Professor Robbins is the recipient of the 2005 American Anthropological Association/McGraw-Hill award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

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Table of Contents

Preface xi
Acknowledgments xv
Chapter 1 Culture and Meaning 1
Problem 1 How can people begin to understand beliefs and behaviors that are different from their own?
Introduction: The World Behind Everyday Appearances 2
1.1 Why do human beings differ in their beliefs and behaviors? 4
1.2 How do people judge the beliefs and behaviors of others? 8
The Ethnocentric Fallacy and the Relativist Fallacy 10
Virginity Testing in Turkey and Fighting Poverty in Brazil 11
Objectivity and Morality 12
1.3 Is it possible to see the world through the eyes of others? 14
The Embarrassed Anthropologist 15
Confronting Witchcraft in Mexico 16
The Endangered Anthropologist 17
1.4 How can the meanings that others find in experience be interpreted and described? 20
Deciphering the Balinese Cockfight 21
1.5 What can learning about other peoples tell Americans about themselves? 23
A Balinese Anthropologist Studies Football 24
An Anthropological Look at a "Happy Meal" 27
Conclusions 29
References and Suggested Readings 30
Chapter 2 The Meaning of Progress 33
Problem 2 How do we explain the transformation of human societies over the past 10,000 years from small-scale, nomadic bands of hunters and gatherers to large-scale, urban-industrial states?
Introduction: The Death of a Way of Life 34
2.1 Why did hunter-gatherer societies switch to sedentary agriculture? 37
Life Among Hunter-Gatherers: The Hadza and Ju/wasi 39
The Transition to Agriculture 41
Producing Potato Calories 44
2.2 Why are some societies more industrially advanced than others? 46
The British in India 48
Cotton, Slavery, and the Cherokee Removal 50
2.3 Why don't poor countries modernize and develop in the same way as wealthier countries? 52
The Case of Brazil 54
2.4 How do modern standards of health and medical treatment compare with those of traditional societies? 56
Illness and Inequality 56
The Meaning of Illness 59
2.5 Why are simpler societies disappearing? 62
Globalization and Cultural Diversity 64
Conclusions 66
References and Suggested Readings 67
Chapter 3 The Construction of the Nation--State 71
Problem 3 How do we explain emergence of the modern nation-state and the methods through which persons come to believe that they owe their allegiance to their country?
Introduction: Everyone Needs a Country to Which to Belong 72
3.1 Why did human beings organize into large-scale state organizations? 73
3.2 Why did the nation-state come to exist and what functions does it perform? 76
The Nation-State and the Cost of a Twinkie 77
3.3 How is the state constructed and maintained and how does it succeed in binding together often disparate and conflicting groups? 79
Race and the Nation-State 83
Education and the Nation-State 85
Violence and the Nation-State 86
3.4 How is the state to survive in an increasingly globalized world? 90
Conclusions 95
References and Suggested Readings 96
Chapter 4 The Social and Cultural Construction of Reality 99
Problem 4 Why do people believe different things, and why are they so certain that their view of the world is correct and other views are wrong?
Introduction: The Central Question 100
4.1 How does language affect the meanings people assign to experience? 103
Borrowing Meaning with Metaphors 104
Kwakiutl Metaphors of Hunger 107
The Metaphors of Contemporary Witchcraft and Magic 109
4.2 How does symbolic action reinforce a particular view of the world? 111
The Kwakiutl Cannibal Dance 112
The Ritual of Contemporary Witchcraft and Magic 114
Dorothy Meets Luke Skywalker 115
4.3 How do people come to believe what they do, and how do they continue to hold to their beliefs even if they seem contradictory or ambiguous? 116
The Process of Interpretive Drift 118
Explaining Why the Sun Moves Around the Earth 120
4.4 How does the way we live affect our beliefs and rituals? 123
"Acting" in Love 125
Love and Class Structure 126
Love and Individualism 127
Romantic Love and the Functioning of Society 128
4.5 How can people reorder their view of the world if it becomes unsatisfactory? 128
Wovoka and the Ghost Dance 129
Mother Ann Lee and the Shakers 131
Conclusions 134
References and Suggested Readings 135
Chapter 5 Patterns of Family Relations 139
Problem 5 What do we need to know before we can understand the dynamics of family life in other societies?
Introduction: Soap Operas and Family Relations 140
5.1 What is the composition of the typical family group? 141
The Family Composition of the Ju/wasi 142
The Family Composition of the Trobriand Islanders 145
The Family Composition of the Chinese 148
5.2 How is the family formed and the ideal family type maintained? 150
The Family Cycle of the Ju/wasi 151
The Family Cycle of the Trobriand Islanders 153
The Family Cycle of the Chinese 156
5.3 What are the roles of sexuality, love, and wealth? 158
Sex, Love, and Wealth Among the Ju/wasi 158
Sex, Love, and Wealth Among the Trobriand Islanders 159
Sex, Love, and Wealth Among the Chinese 159
5.4 What threatens to disrupt the family unit? 161
Threats to the Ju/wasi Family 161
Threats to the Trobriand Island Family 162
Threats to the Chinese Family 164
Conclusions 166
References and Suggested Readings 167
Chapter 6 The Cultural Construction of Identity 169
Problem 6 How do people determine who they are, and how do they communicate who they think they are to others?
Introduction: The Importance of Self 170
6.1 How does the concept of personhood vary from society to society? 171
The Egocentric and Sociocentric Self 172
Personhood in Japan and America 173
6.2 How do societies distinguish individuals from one another? 175
Learning to Be Male and Female 176
6.3 How do individuals learn who they are? 178
The Transition to Adulthood 179
6.4 How do individuals communicate their identities to one another? 183
Gifts and Commodities 186
Gift-Giving and Christmas in America 188
6.5 How do individuals defend their identities that are threatened? 191
Making Moka in Papua New Guinea 191
Conclusions 194
References and Suggested Readings 194
Chapter 7 The Cultural Construction of Social Hierarchy 197
Problem 7 Why are modern societies characterized by social, political, and economic inequalities?
Introduction: The Rationale for Social Inequality 198
7.1 How do societies rank people in social hierarchies? 199
The Feminization of Poverty 200
7.2 Why do societies construct social hierarchies? 202
Integrative and Exploitative Theories of Social Hierarchy 203
Karl Marx and the Origin of Class 204
7.3 How do people come to accept social hierarchies as natural? 206
Constructing the Ideology of Racism 207
The Social Construction of "Intelligence" 210
Constructing Stratification by Gender 216
7.4 How do people living in poverty adapt to their condition? 218
Kinship as an Adaptation to Poverty 219
In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio 221
7.5 Can a nonstratified community exist within a large society? 225
The Hutterites and the Colony of Heaven 225
Conclusions 228
References and Suggested Readings 228
Chapter 8 The Cultural Construction of Violent Conflict 231
Problem 8 How do societies give meaning to and justify collective violence?
Introduction: The Justification of Violent Conflict 232
8.1 How do societies create a bias in favor of collective violence? 233
Horses, Rank, and Warfare Among the Kiowa 233
Good Hosts Among the Yanomamo 234
Defending Honor in Kohistan 236
8.2 How do societies create a bias aganist violent conflict? 237
Characteristics of Peaceful Societies 238
8.3 What are the economic, political, or social differences between peaceful and violent societies? 240
The Need to Protect Resources and Honor 241
Creating the Conditions for Violence 243
Sexism and Violent Conflict 245
8.4 What are the effects of war on society? 246
The Impact of War on Population 246
The Evolution of the Nation-State 247
Violence and Male Solidarity 248
8.5 How is it possible to justify the creation of weapons of mass destruction? 249
The Anthropology of a Nuclear Weapons Laboratory 250
The Language of Nuclear Destruction 253
Conclusions 255
References and Suggested Readings 256
Chapter 9 Applications to Problems of Cultural Diversity 259
Introduction: The Problems of Diversity 260
9.1 Anthropology in Health Care 260
Health Care Among the Swazi 261
9.2 Anthropology in Economic Development 263
Growing Trees in Haiti 263
9.3 Anthropology in Education 265
Intercultural Understanding in American Schools 266
9.4 Anthropology in Architecture 267
Designing Homes Apache-Style 268
9.5 Anthropology in Law 269
Writing Law in Papua New Guinea 269
Conclusions 271
References and Suggested Readings 272
Glossary 275
Bibliography 281
Index 293
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