Educational Goals and Orientation of This Text
The world has become a small place. Global communications, international trade, geopolitical events with worldwide impact, and ease of travel have brought people and cultures into more intimate contact than ever before, forcing this generation of students to become more knowledgeable about societies other than their own. This textbook is grounded in the belief that an enhanced global awareness is essential for people preparing to take their place in the fast-paced, increasingly interconnected world of the twenty-first century. Anthropology is ideally suited to introduce students to a global perspective. Through exploring the range of human diversity each of the subfields of anthropology helps liberate students from a narrow, parochial view and enables them to appreciate the full sweep of the human condition.
The anthropological perspective, which stresses critical-thinking, the evaluation of competing hypotheses, and the skills to generalize from specific data, contributes significantly to a well-rounded education. This text engages readers in anthropology by delving into both classic and current research in the field. This reflects a commitment to anthropology¿s holistic and integrative approach. It spells out how the four basic subfields of anthropology¿physical anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, and ethnology¿together yield a comprehensive understanding of humanity. Because the subfields often overlap, insights from all of them are woven together to reveal the holistic fabric of a particular society or the threads uniting all of humanity. In examining anthropological research, this text often refers to research conducted in other fields.C ontemporary anthropologists draw on the findings of biologists, paleontologists, geologists, economists, historians, psychologists, sociologists, political scientists, religious studies specialists, philosophers, and researchers in other areas whose work sheds light on anthropological inquiry. In addition to enlarging the scope of the text, exploring interactions between anthropology and other fields sparks the critical imagination that brings the learning process to life.
The comparative approach, another cornerstone of the anthropological perspective, is also highlighted in this text. When anthropologists assess fossil evidence, artifacts, languages, or cultural beliefs and values, they weigh comparative evidence, while acknowledging the unique elements of each case, society or culture. The text casts an inquiring eye on materials from numerous geographical regions and historical eras to enrich student understanding.
A diachronic approach also characterizes this book. In evaluating human evolution, prehistoric events, language divergence, or developments in social structure, anthropologists must rely on models that reflect changes through time, so this diachronic orientation suffuses the text.
Three Unifying Themes of This Text
In the previous edition of this textbook we emphasized three unifying themes that structured the material presented. These have been retained and expanded in this seventh edition. The first two themes we introduce students to are the diversity of human societies and cultural patterns the world over and the similarities that make all humans fundamentally alike . To achieve these two objectives, we pay as much attention to universal human characteristics as we do to local cultural contexts and conditions. We emphasize the growing interconnectedness of humanity and both the positive and negative consequences of this reality.¿ We draw on anthropological studies to discover how people are responding to the process of globalization.
The third theme, which we emphasize more prominently in this edition, focuses on the interconnections between the sciences and humanities within anthropology. We call this the synthetic-complementary approach , which views the scientific method and the methods in the humanities as complementary and suggests that one is incomplete without the other. This theme had been mentioned in previous editions, but we make it much more of a centerpiece in this edition. This third important theme dovetails with the two other themes, demonstrating how human behavior is both unique to a specific cultures, and yet also universal.
Several decades ago, in another anthropology textbook published by Prentice Hall (1964), the late Eric Wolf emphasized that anthropology has always had one foot in the sciences and one foot in the humanities. This observation is evermore true today. Wolf said, ¿Anthropology is both the most scientific of the humanities and the most humanistic of the sciences¿ (1964, 88). Eric was kind enough to give us suggestions in developing this textbook and we would like to carry on the tradition that Eric Wolf accentuated in his work. One of the important goals in this edition is to further highlight the fundamental importance of the synthetic-complementary approach to science and the humanities in anthropology.
Some anthropologists have argued that the scientific approach is not suitable for assessing and interpreting human behavior and culture, whereas others believe that the humanistic approach is not appropriate for developing general cross-cultural and causal explanations about human behavior and culture. This has led to textbooks that focus either on one or the other approach. In this book, we highlight how the interpretive-humanistic perspective is complementary to the scientific method, which seeks general cross-cultural and causal explanations for human behavior and culture. The interpretive-humanistic perspective provides insight into the specifics of human behavior within different cultures, whereas the scientific approach offers a method to test causal explanations that allow for insight into universal aspects of human behavior.
Organization of the Book
The arrangement and treatment of topics in this text differ from that of other textbooks in anthropology. In Part 1, ¿Basic Concepts of Anthropology,¿ we introduce the basic concepts of the four subfields of anthropology and the understanding of culture, language, and globalization.
Chapters 3¿ 6 reinforce one another. Chapter 3 examines the concept of culture as it is understood in anthropology. Beginning with the notions of material and nonmaterial culture, this chapter goes on to cite examples of cultural diversity found throughout the world. However, we emphasize how anthropologists have refined their understanding of the term culture today so as not to think in stereotypical or monolithic images of other societies. In this chapter, we stress cultural universals and similarities that unify all of humanity. We also integrate the discussion of the concept of culture with the process of enculturation in order to bridge Chapter 3, on culture, and Chapter 4, on the enculturation process. To refine our discussion of culture and enculturation, we develop some new materials on recent research in cognitive anthropology.
In Chapter 4, we emphasize how anthropologists bridge the gap between biology and culture as they gain a greater understanding of enculturation and personality development in unfamiliar societies. To explore this topic, we turn to the classic studies conducted by Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead, as well as the most recent research in psychoanalytic anthropology, childhood training in societies around the world, incest, sexuality, cognition, emotions, and cross-cultural research on personality disorders. In addition, we discuss the fields of cognitive anthropology and the recently delineated field of evolutionary psychology. Many psychological anthropologists have been attempting to incorporate the findings from this new field into their hypotheses.
Chapter 5, on language, dovetails with the previous chapter in several key ways. We have refined our discussion of the differences between ape communication and human language. New conclusions have been reached recently in laboratory research and primatological fieldwork comparing ape communication with human languages. Following up on these studies, we have added to our discussion of the evolution of language.¿ We revised our section on Chomsky¿s transformational model and other related anthropological findings that suggest interactive relationships between biology and culture. Other research findings in linguistic anthropology, including historical linguistics, complement material in the emerging field of sociolinguistics and introduce students to the most recent developments in the field.
Chapter 6 covers anthropological explanations. Students need to be informed about the roots and early theories that emerged within the discipline of anthropology. They need to be able to assess and evaluate why these early theories are no longer relevant. This helps demonstrate the progress that anthropologists have made in understanding culture and human behavior. Students are then introduced to the more modern theories that have influenced anthropologists, including cultural materialism, symbolic anthropology, Marxist anthropology, postmodernism, and feminist anthropology. This basic introduction to these contemporary theories will help students evaluate the explanations offered in later chapters of the text.
Part 2, ¿Studying Different Societies,¿ presents a much different organizational scheme compared with that of other texts. Instead of structuring the book according to specific topics in anthropology, such as subsistence, economy, family, kinship, political organization, and religion, this text organizes the material based on levels of societal organization and regional topics.
As in previous editions of this textbook, Chapter 7 walks students through the methods, research strategies, and ethical dilemmas that confront cultural anthropologists. Then they learn about the major variables that cultural anthropologists analyze to gain insight into different types of societies: environment and subsistence, demography, technology, economy, social structure, family, kinship, gender, age, political systems, law, and religion. With this background, students are ready to understand subsequent chapters.
Chapter 7 also presents the multidimensional approach, which most contemporary anthropologists use to analyze the elements of society and culture. Rather than grounding an understanding of society and culture in a single factor, this orientation taps into both material and nonmaterial aspects of culture to view the full spectrum of society holistically and to produce a balanced treatment of key issues that are aspects of anthropological analysis. Again, we integrate the scientific and humanistic approaches in this chapter.
In Chapters 8, 9 , and 10 , the textbook reports and critically evaluates the major anthropological findings related to what have been designated bands, tribes, and chiefdoms. Because these classifications have been open to interpretation among anthropologists, these labels and questionable categories are used with extreme caution. Even though many anthropologists either shun these terms or seriously question their utility in describing complex, changing societies, we believe that these classifications give students who are first exposed to the discipline a good grasp of the fundamentals of prestate societies.
Chapters 11 and 12 move on to agricultural and industrial state societies, whose key characteristics emerge in the interconnections among variables such as political economy and social stratification. Chapter 11 features the basic elements of agricultural societies as revealed by archaeologists, historians, and anthropologists. Chapter 12 opens with a historical and anthropological perspective on the Industrial Revolution and the process of modernization, segueing into comparative research conducted in England, Western Europe, the United States, the Soviet Union, and Japan to illustrate the dynamics of industrial states. In doing so, we hope to correct the racist and ethnocentric beliefs of many students regarding the evolution of industrial and postindustrial societies.
Sound pedagogical logic underlies this approach. Instead of presenting important anthropological research on demography, gender, economy, kinship, ethnicity, political systems, and religion as single chapters (usually corresponding to single lectures), this organizational scheme spotlights how these variables permeate the entire spectrum of human experience in different types of societies. Whereas the single-chapter format tends to marginalize these topics, this text¿s approach¿based on different levels of societal organization¿allows students to focus on the interconnections between the political economy and gender, age, family, kinship, religion, demography, technology, and the environment and on how these factors are influenced by globalization. As a result, students gain a holistic and global understanding of human societies.
Organizing material according to levels of societal organization in no way implies or endorses a simplistic, unilineal view of sociocultural evolution. In fact, the ladderlike evolutionary perspective on society comes in for criticism throughout the text. While recognizing the inherent weaknesses of using classifications such as ¿tribes¿ and ¿chiefdoms¿¿including the parallel tendencies to lump diverse societies into narrow categories and create artificial boundaries among societies¿we believe that these groupings nonetheless serve the valuable purpose of introducing beginning students to the sweeping concepts that make anthropology distinctive. Generalizations about tribes and chiefdoms help students unfamiliar with anthropology¿s underpinnings to absorb basic concepts and data; the complexities and theoretical controversies within the discipline can always be addressed in more specialized advanced courses.
We begin Part 3, ¿Globalization and Its Impact,¿ with a refined Chapter 13, on globalization and culture. This chapter sets the stage for contemporary students to assess the impact of this significant factor on their own lives and those of other people throughout the world. We discuss how anthropologists are refining their concepts of globalization and how it has an impact on societies presently. After providing students with some basic hands-on understandings of how globalization is influencing popular culture and sports and how the outsourcing of jobs to other countries has an influence on their lives, we move on to show how anthropologists are studying this process of globalization all over the world. We provide a critique of the terminology of First, Second, and Third Worlds as being too simplistic to apply to what anthropological data demonstrate. This Cold War terminology is outdated from today¿s standpoint, especially based on ethnographic data regarding the complex levels of development and diversity found in the so-called Third World¿and the fact that the formerly socialist industrial societies of the Second World have mostly dissipated.
In this globalization chapter, we delve into the theoretical paradigms that anthropologists have modified to understand the interrelationships among various societies of the world. Modernization, dependency, and world-systems theories and, more recently, neoliberalism (and anthropological criticisms of them) are introduced to develop the global perspective. We emphasize that societies cannot be understood as independent, isolated units. This global perspective informs all the subsequent chapters, reinforcing a sense of global awareness among students.
This chapter goes on to address how globalization has had an impact on aboriginal or indigenous societies around the world. A number of salient questions are raised by these global contacts: How are these indigenous societies becoming absorbed into global economic and political networks? How are these indigenous peoples responding to this situation? And what are anthropologists doing to enhance the coping strategies of these indigenous peoples?
Finally in this chapter, we indicate how anthropologists assess both the negative and the positive aspects of globalization in different communities throughout the world. We try to provide a balanced assessment of some aspects of globalization that may result in positive developments representing improvements in people¿s lives in various areas of the world. However, we emphasize that this process of globalization can result in some very negative consequences and problems that must be assessed and evaluated for a comprehensive understanding and possible solutions for humanity today.
In Chapters 14 and 15, we continue the globalization focus and evaluate the current research findings by cultural anthropologists in Latin America, Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Asia. These two chapters emphasize the globalization process in these regions and reveal what anthropologists are finding in their local studies related to the overall trend of globalization. We emphasize how all these cultural regions are becoming more interconnected within the global political economy. In addition to probing classic ethnographic research, we place contemporary issues in each region within a broad historical context, offering readers finely honed diachronic insights into social and political developments in each of these different regions.
Chapter 16 continues the global focus as we assess the important topic of race and ethnicity and how contemporary trends influence these areas. This chapter reviews the extensive research that anthropologists have been doing on race and ethnicity since the beginning of the twentieth century. We cover the material related to the development of racism in Western society, with an anthropological critique of racism based on scientific evidence. We also provide perspectives on ethnicity that anthropologists have developed for understanding race and ethnic relations. Examples of this research are provided by a review of race and ethnic relations in U.S. society from an anthropological perspective. We believe that the placement of this chapter within the globalization section reinforces how the process of globalization has had broad consequences for race and ethnicity issues worldwide.
Chapter 17 highlights contemporary global trends that are changing the entire world. Anthropological research is brought to bear on the environmental, demographic, economic, political, ethnic, and religious trends that are shaking the foundations of many societies. Among the topics addressed in this context are climate change, the Green Revolution, the increasing consumption of nonrenewable energy by industrial societies, the impact of multinational corporations, the demise of socialist regimes, and the rise of new ethnic and religious movements.
Chapter 18 sheds light on the fifth subfield of anthropology: applied anthropology. Here we consider key issues in applied anthropology, including medical anthropology, cultural resource management, and recent research aimed at solving practical problems in societies the world over. However, the most important goal of this chapter is to highlight how anthropologists are conducting research on global problems and how they may be engaged in solving some of those problems. We conclude the textbook with a discussion of the human rights issues on which anthropologists focus in their research to help provide a better means of attaining improvements in human rights throughout the world.
Features of This Text
In Critical Perspectives boxes, designed to stimulate independent reasoning and judgment, students take the role of anthropologist by engaging in the critical analysis of specific problems and issues that arise in anthropological research. A successful holdover from the first edition, these Critical Perspectives boxes encourage students to use rigorous standards of evidence when evaluating assumptions and hypotheses regarding scientific and philosophical issues that have no easy answers. We have updated our discussions in the Critical Perspective boxes for this eighth edition. By probing beneath the surface of various assumptions and hypotheses in these exercises, students stand to discover the excitement and challenge of anthropological investigation.
Anthropologists at Work boxes, profiling prominent anthropologists, humanize many of the issues covered in the chapters. These boxes¿another carryover from the first edition¿go behind the scenes to trace the personal and professional development of some of today¿s leading anthropologists.¿ We have added several new boxes in this area focusing on John Hawks as a leading Physical Anthropologist, Scott Atran as a prominent Cultural Anthropologist, Nancy Rosenberger¿s research on food, gender, and globalization, Brian Hoey¿s ethnographic research on Post-Industrial America, and Henry Munson¿s research on religious fundamentalism.¿
Finally, Applying Anthropology boxes¿new to previous editions¿show students how research in anthropology can help solve practical problems confronting contemporary societies. Students often ask, What relevance does anthropology have to the problems we face in our generation? These Applying Anthropology boxes answer the relevance question head on. For example, one box notes that anthropologists unearth research data to help ease tensions in multicultural relations in U.S. society. Another box describes how linguistic anthropologists work with indigenous peoples to preserve their languages as these indigenous peoples adjust to the modern world. The concluding chapter of the text ties together many of these Applying Anthropology boxes by placing in perspective the full panoply of issues addressed in applied anthropology.