Sociology Index


Cultural anthropology is the science of human social and cultural behavior and its development. Cultural anthropology originally developed as the study of non-western cultures but many anthropologists now study western societies and the disciplines of sociology and anthropology have been tending to converge giving scope to the field of cultural anthropology. Cultural anthropology is based on cultural understandings of populations of living humans gained through participant observation. Cultural anthropology focusses on the study of cultural variation among humans in contrast to social anthropology. Physical Anthropology is the science of human zoology, evolution, and ecology. Consumer Culture, Fashion Culture, Popular Culture and Counterculture help in the study of cultural anthropology. Cultural Anthropology is also a peer-reviewed journal of the Society for Cultural Anthropology, a section of the American Anthropological Association.

Pushing Anthropology Past the Posts 
Critical notes on cultural anthropology and cultural studies as influenced by postmodernism and existentialism - Bruce M. Knauft. This article suggests that a critical analysis of postmoderm and existentialist underpinnings reveals common political and ethical problems. These problems have an unsettling legacy in contemporary cultural anthropology and cultural studies, especially for many of those who see themselves at the cutting edge of critically reflexive representations. Against this back ground, perspectives grounded in critical humanism are better at exposing and grappling with these problems.

Kenneth J. Guest’s Cultural Anthropology: A Toolkit for a Global Age inspires students to use the tools of anthropology to see the world in a new way and to come to class prepared to have richer, more meaningful discussions about the big issues of our time. Are there more than two genders? How do white people experience race? What defines a family? Is there such a thing as a “natural” disaster? What causes some people to be wealthy while others live in poverty?

A Cognitivist's View of the Units Debate in Cultural Anthropology 
Roy D'Andrade, University of California, San Diego. - This article explores some of the implications of the current ideational definition of culture. If culture consists of shared ideas, then the findings of cognitive psychology concerning the limits of short-term memory necessarily constrain the size and complexity of cultural units. Wierzbicka's universal linguistic primes or primitives would then be the atomic units of culture.

Introduction to Special Issue on The Missing Psychology in Cultural Anthropology's Key Words 
Naomi Quinn, Claudia Strauss.
It is common practice in anthropology to use terms with implicit psychological content (such as embodiment). This is consistent with contemporary developments in anthropological theory and practice that lead to a focus on individuals' voices and practices.

Cultural anthropologists are critical of psychology. This introduction considers and responds to some of the usual criticisms. As this introduction describes, the articles that follow each take one term that is widely used by anthropologists (agency, resistance, subjectivity, the imaginary, and the self) and show how the concept could be better illuminated.

Books on Cultural Anthropology

Cultural Anthropology: The Human Challenge by William A. Haviland, Harald E. L. Prins, Dana Walrath, and Bunny McBride.

Cultural Anthropology: Global Forces, Local Lives - PDF file
An accessible, ethnographically rich, cultural anthropology textbook.