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Introductory Readings in Anthropology

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Introductory Readings in Anthropology

Edited by Hilary Callan, Brian Street† and Simon Underdown
Published in association with the Royal Anthropological Institute

458 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-968-8 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (March 2013)

ISBN  978-0-85745-969-5 $45.00/£36.00 Pb Published (May 2013)

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


Anthropology seeks to understand the roots of our common humanity, the diversity of cultures and world-views, and the organisation of social relations and practices. As a method of inquiry it embraces an enormous range of topics, and as a discipline it covers a multitude of fields and themes, as shown in this selection of original writings. As an accessible entry point, for upper-level students and first year undergraduates new to the study of anthropology, this reader also offers guidance for teachers in exploring the subject’s riches with their students. That anthropology is an immensely expansive inquiry of study is demonstrated by the diversity of its topics – from nature conservation campaigns to witchcraft beliefs, from human evolution to fashion and style, and from the repatriation of indigenous human remains to research on literacy. There is no single ‘story of anthropology’. Taken together, these fundamental readings are evidence of a contemporary, vibrant subject that has much to tell us about all the worlds in which we live.

Hilary Callan was Director of the Royal Anthropological Institute from 2000 to 2010, and is a member of the Institute's Education Committee.

Brian Street was Emeritus Professor of Language in Education at King’s College, London University and Visiting Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania. He was a former Vice-President of the RAI and Chair of the Institute's Education Committee.

Simon Underdown is Senior Lecturer in Biological Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University, a Vice President of the Royal Anthropological Institute and is a member of the Institute's Education Committee.

Royal Anthropological Institute

Subject: Theory and Methodology


A Note on Original Sources

General Introduction
Hilary Callan, Brian Street and Simon Underdown

Section I: Being Human: Unity and Diversity

Introduction to Section I
Hilary Callan, Brian Street and Simon Underdown

I.1 Evolutionary Processes and Human Origins

Chapter 1. What Is Natural Selection?
R. Lewin and R. Foley

Chapter 2. Explaining the Very Improbable
Richard Dawkins

Chapter 3. What Is Sexual Selection?
R. Lewin and R. Foley

Chapter 4. Human Evoluton: An Overview
Simon Underdown

Chapter 5. Were the Neanderthals So Different from Us?
Chris Stringer

Chapter 6. An Evolving Tale
Simon Underdown

I.2 The Body

Ways of Thinking about ‘Race’ and Ethnicity

Chapter 7. Race against Time
Simon Underdown

Chapter 8. Dem Bones
Simon Underdown

Chapter 9. Representations of Non-European Society in Popular Fiction
Brian Street

Chapter 10. Unravelling ‘Race’ for the Twenty-first Century
Faye V. Harrison

A Source of Meanings and a Site of Social Discipline and Control

Chapter 11. The Body: Subjugated and Unsexed
Judith Okely

I.3 Ways of Thinking and Communicating

Language Evolution

Chapter 12. How Humans are Different
Robin Dunbar

Chapter 13. Technical Difficulties and Hopeful Monsters
Terrence Deacon

Language and Classification

Chapter 14. The ‘Savage’ Mind
Claude Lévi-Strauss

Explanation of Events

Chapter 15. Witchcraft Beliefs
Godfrey Lienhardt

The Ethnographic Study of Language and Communication

Chapter 16. The Ethnographic Study of Language and Communication
Shirley Heath and Brian Street

Language and Ethnicity

Chapter 17. Language in Late Modernity
B. Rampton

Anthropological Approaches to Literacy and Numeracy

Chapter 18. Everyday Literacies in Africa
A.H. Gebre, A. Rogers, B. Street and G. Openjuru

Multimodal Discourse

Chapter 19. Multimodal Discourse
G. Kress and T. van Leeuwen

I.4. Organising Social Relations: Kinship and Gender

Chapter 20. The Semantics of Biology
Kirsten Hastrup

Chapter 21. ‘Ladies’ behind Bars: A Liminal Gender as Cultural Mirror
John M. Coggeshall

I.5 Engaging with Nature

Chapter 22. Social Views of the Environment
Joy Hendry

Chapter 23. Death on the Farm: Badger Culling in North Pembrokeshire
Pat Caplan

Chapter 24. The Whaling War: Conflicting Cultural Perspectives
Adrian Peace

Chapter 25. Ducks Out of Water: Nature Conservation as Boundary Maintenance
Kay Milton

I.6 The Humanity of Things

Chapter 26. Feminine Power at Sea
Silvia Rodgers

Chapter 27. Why Clothing Is Not Superficial
Daniel Miller

Section II: Becoming a Person: Identity and Belonging

Introduction to Section II
Hilary Callan, Brian Street and Simon Underdown

II.1 Personhood

Contrasting Concepts

Chapter 28. The Social Character of Humanity
Thomas Hylland Eriksen
Chapter 29. Anthropology of the Self
Brian Morris


Chapter 30. Rites of Passage
Joy Hendry


Chapter 31. A Sense of People and Place
Gaynor Cohen

II.2 Drawing Boundaries and Defining Groups

Chapter 32. What’s in a Name? Creating Identities in Britain
Jemma Underdown

Chapter 33. Gypsy Women: Models in Conflict
Judith Okely

II.3 Ritual and Social Relations

Chapter 34. Extract from The Ritual Process
Victor Turner

Suggestions for Further Reading

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