Investigating Culture: An Experiential Introduction to Anthropology / Edition 1

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Investigating Culture offers an innovative approach to understanding culture as a constructed phenomenon open to investigation of its implicit premises and explicit forms.
  • Provides a refreshing alternative to traditional textbooks by challenging students to think in new ways and to apply these ideas to their own lives
  • Focuses on the ways that humans orient themselves, e.g., in space and time, according to language, food, the body, and the symbols provided by public myth and ritual
  • Each chapter includes: an introduction framing the central issues, examples from a range of cultures, a selected reading or two, additional suggested readings, and exercises
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Engaging, intelligent, and intellectually generous, Investigating Culture introduces students to cultural anthropology --- and reintroduces all of us to our everyday worlds as seen through ethnographic eyes. Delaney brings together acute observation, revelatory projects, telling and appropriate comparisons, and an imaginative and stimulating range of readings. A book I’m eager to teach!" Don Brenneis, University of California, Santa Cruz; President of American Anthropological Association 2001--03

"A splendid achievement. Carol Delaney has written an absorbing and strikingly original introduction to anthropology. Investigating Culture takes students on a self-reflexive journey around the world and back home again. Courageous, conversational, scholarly, and engaging." Carol Stack, University of California, Berkeley

"Investigating Culture will be a beacon for the discipline, and a wonderful point of entry to the field for the beginner." Steven Piker, Swarthmore College

"A wonderful teaching resource!" Julia Lynn Offen, University of Pennsylvania

"[A] unique, timely introduction to anthropology…. Many will appreciate Delaney's fresh and innovative approach to tried and true anthropological concepts. Many will also appreciate her more contemporary topical discussions---such as those on space, the body, or clothing---which are much more relevant to students' experience. ... Delaney's text represents what seems to be an important shift in contemporary introductory textbooks, one that recognizes the increased multicultural sophistication of today's student. In that sense, it also represents a move away from the kind of conventional anthropological pedagogy…. Students…need textbooks that encourage new levels of understanding which couch their complex experiences within more complex frameworks like history, politics, and economy. In my view, Delaney's book---well-written, well-thought-out, and germane---goes a long way toward narrowing the gap between conventional and more relevant approaches to teaching anthropology." ---The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631222378
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/14/2007
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 456
  • Sales rank: 1,286,112
  • Product dimensions: 9.61 (w) x 6.69 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

Carol Delaney is Associate Professor of Cultural and Social Anthropology at Stanford University. She is author of The Seed and The Soil: Gender and Cosmology in Turkish Village Society (1991) and Abraham on Trial: The Social Legacy of Biblical Myth (1998), and is co-editor of Naturalizing Power: Essays in Feminist Cultural Analysis (1995, with Sylvia Yanagisako).
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Table of Contents


1. Disorientation and Orientation.


Selected Reading: Shakespeare in the Bush: Laura Bohannan.


2. Space.


Selected Reading: The American Front Porch: Women’s Liminal Space: Sue Bridwell Beckham.


3. Time.


Selected Reading: Time is for Savoring: Ellen Goodman.

Selected Reading: The Original Affluent Society: Marshall Sahlins.


4. Language: We Are What We Speak.


Selected Reading: She Unnames Them: Ursula LeGuin.

Selected Reading: Seeing is Believing: Alan Dundes.


5. Relatives and Relations.


Selected Reading: Symbols of Category Membership: Penelope Eckert.

Selected Reading: Kinship Systems: A.M. Hocart.


6. Our Bodies, Ourselves.


Selected Reading: Body Ritual Among the Nacirema: Horace Miner.


7. Food for Thought.


Selected Reading: You Are What You Eat: Religious Aspects of the Health Food Movement: Jill Dubisch.


8. Clothing Matters.


Selected Reading: Alienation: Julio Ramón Ribeyro.


9. VIPs: Very Important People, Places and Performances.


Selected Reading: The Impact of the Concept of Culture on the Concept of Man: Clifford Geertz.


Photo Credits.


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