Societal Organization and Globalization in Cultural Anthropology
Cultural Anthropology: A Global Perspective provides students with an introduction to cultural anthropology through a traditional holistic and integrative approach.
Organized by societal type, this book's primary emphasis is on applied anthropology, with a strong coverage of globalization. Additionally, it emphasizes three unifying themes: 1) the diversity of human societies and cultural patterns the world over, 2) the similarities that make all humans fundamentally alike, and 3) the interconnections between the sciences and humanities within anthropology.
Teaching and Learning Experience
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In This Section:
I. Author Bio
II. Author Letter
I. Author Bio
Raymond Scupin is Professor of Anthropology and International Studies in Lindenwood University. He received his B.A. degree in history and Asian studies, with a minor in anthropology, from the University of California- Angeles. He completed his M.A. and Ph. D degrees in anthropology at the University of California-Santa Barbara. Dr.Scupin is truly a four-field anthropologist. During graduate school, Dr. Scupin did archaeological and ethnohistorical research on Native Americans in the Santa Barbara region. He did extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Thailand with a focus on understanding the ethnic and religious movements among the Muslin minority. In addition, he taught linguistics and conducted linguistic research while based at a Thai University.
Dr.Scupin has been teaching undergraduate courses in anthropology for more than 30 years at a variety of academic institutions, including community colleges, research universities, and a four-year liberal arts university. Thus, he has taught a very broad spectrum of undergraduate students. Through his teaching experience, Dr.Scupin was prompted to write this textbook, which would allow a wide range of undergraduate students to understand the holistic and global perspectives of the four-field approach in anthropology. In 1999, Dr.Scupin received the Missouri Governor’s Award for Teaching Excellence.
Dr.Scupin has published many studies on his ethnographic research in Thailand. He recently returned to Thailand and other countries of Southeast Asia to update his ethnographic data on Islamic trends in that area, an increasingly important topic in the post 9/11 world. He is a member of many professional associations, including the American Anthropological Association, the Asian Studies Association, and the Council of Thai Studies. Dr, Scupin has recently authored Religion and culture: An Anthropological Focus and Race and Ethnicity: An Anthropological Focus on the U.S. and the World, and Peoples and Cultures of Asia, all published by Prentice Hall Press.II. Author Letter
I would like to introduce some of the new features in the eighth edition of Cultural anthropology: a global perspective. This textbook was inspired by one of the first anthropology textbooks published by prentice hall press authored by the late Eric wolf who emphasized that anthropology has always been scientific and humanistic. Wolf said that "anthropology is both the most scientific of the humanities and the most humanistic of the sciences." (1964:88). We think that this perspective is as relevant today as ever. Eric was kind enough to offer suggestions in developing the first edition of this textbook and we have continued to emphasize his holistic and global focus throughout the different editions. We emphasize what we call the "synthetic-complementary approach" that views the scientific method and the methods within the humanities as complementary and suggest that both perspectives are needed to help explain and understand human behavior and cultures.
To achieve our holistic and global focus with coverage of both the classic and the most current research in anthropology, we have had the assistance of many anthropologists who have used and reviewed our textbook for this eighth edition. We have updated and refined all of our chapters in the textbook drawing on the most current research by anthropologists doing research throughout the world.
I invite you to consider this new edition of cultural anthropology: a Global Perspective 8th edition to introduce your students to the most current, interesting, and exciting research in our field. You will be able to demonstrate how important anthropological research is to understanding the human condition.
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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 ItIIreflects 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.CContemporary 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, iin 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. Chapter 1 introduces the field of anthropology and explains how it relates to both the sciences and the humanities. This lead-in chapter examines how anthropologists use the scientific method, as well as the humanistic-hermeneutic-interpretive approach, to understand culture and society. Chapter 2 examines the field of human evolution and the studies of paleoanthropologists, archaeologists, and other scientists who study evolutionary processes, fossil and artifactual evidence, and heredity and genetics to determine what these fields contribute to our understanding of humanity.
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, ...
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