You are here

Cultural Anthropology

Cultural Anthropology

12th Edition
  • Serena Nanda - John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York
  • Richard L. Warms - Texas State University - San Marcos, USA
Available with:

February 2019 | 456 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Now with SAGE Publishing!

Cultural Anthropology integrates critical thinking, explores rich ethnographies, and prompts students to skillfully explore and study today’s world. Readers will better understand social structures by examining themselves, their own cultures, and cultures from across the globe. Serena Nanda and Richard L. Warms show how historical studies and anthropological techniques can help students think about the nature, structure, and meaning of human societies. With a practical emphasis on areas such as medicine, forensics, and advocacy, this book takes an applied approach to anthropology.

The authors cover a broad range of historical and contemporary theories and apply them to real-world global issues. The Twelfth Edition includes a wealth of new examples, along with updated statistical information and ethnographies that help students see the range of human possibilities.

This title is accompanied by a complete teaching and learning package. Contact your SAGE representative to request a demo.

About the Authors
Chapter 1. Anthropology and Human Diversity
Specialization in Anthropology

Some Critical Issues in Anthropology

Why Study Anthropology?


Chapter 2. Doing Cultural Anthropology
Anthropology in Historical Perspective

Anthropological Techniques

Some Critical Issues in Ethnography

Ethical Considerations in Fieldwork

New Roles for the Ethnographer


Chapter 3. The Idea of Culture
Defining Culture

Culture Is Made Up of Learned Behaviors

Culture Is the Way Humans Use Symbols to Classify Their World and Give It Meaning

Culture Is an Integrated System—Or Is It?

Culture Is a Shared System of Norms and Values—Or Is It?

Culture Is the Way Human Beings Adapt to the World

Culture Is Constantly Changing

Culture Counts


Chapter 4. Communication
Origins and Acquisition of Human Language

The Structure of Language

Language and Culture

Nonverbal Communication

Language Change


Chapter 5. Making a Living
Human Adaptation and the Environment

An Overview of Subsistence Strategies







Chapter 6. Economics
Economic Behavior

Allocating Resources

Organizing Labor

Distribution: Systems of Exchange and Consumption



Chapter 7. Political Organization
Social Differentiation

Power and Social Control

Types of Political Organization

The Nation–State


Chapter 8. Stratification
Explaining Social Stratification

Class and Caste in Social Stratification

Stratification and Race

Stratification and Ethnicity


Chapter 9. Kinship
Kinship: Relationships Through Descent and Marriage

Unilineal Descent Groups

Nonunilineal Kinship Systems

The Classification of Kin

Principles for Classifying Kin

Types of Kinship Systems


Chapter 10. Marriage, Family, and Domestic Groups
Functions of Marriage and the Family

Marriage Rules

Monogamy, Polygyny, and Polyandry

Exchange of Goods and Rights in Marriage

Different Kinds of Families

Families and Globalization


Chapter 11. Gender
Sex, Sexuality, and Gender

The Cultural Construction of Gender

Gender Ideologies: Women’s Sexuality and Male Prestige Behavior

Controlling Female Sexuality

Variability in Gender and Sexuality

Theories of Gender and Stratification

Gender Relations and Systems of Production

Gender and Globalization


Chapter 12. Religion
What Religion Does in Society

Characteristics of Religion

Rituals and Ways of Addressing the Supernatural

Religious Practitioners

Religion and Change


Chapter 13. Creative Expression
Art in Its Cultural Context

Some Functions of Art

Art, Culture, and Symbolism

Art and the Expression of Cultural Themes

Art and Politics

Art and the Expression of Identities

Art and Representing the Other

Marketing World Art


Chapter 14. Power, Conquest, and a World System
European Expansion: Motives and Methods

The Era of Colonialism

Making Colonialism Pay


An Interconnected but Unstable World


Chapter 15. Culture, Change, and the Modern World
The Changing Political and Economic Environment

The Persistence of Poverty and Instability

Multinational Corporations


Population Pressure

Environmental Challenges

The Rights of Indigenous People


Appendix: A Brief Historical Guide to Anthropological Theory
19th-Century Evolutionism

The Early Sociologists

Boas and American Anthropology


Culture and Personality

Cultural Ecology and Neo-Evolutionism

Neomaterialism: Evolutionary, Functionalist, Ecological, and Marxist


Ethnoscience and Cognitive Anthropology

Sociobiology, Evolutionary Psychology, and Behavioral Ecology

Anthropology and Gender

Symbolic and Interpretive Anthropology


Anthropology and Globalization

Structure and Agency: Practice Theory approaches



Instructor Resource Site

For additional information, custom options, or to request a personalized walkthrough of these resources, please contact your sales representative.

LMS cartridge included with this title for use in Blackboard, Canvas, Brightspace by Desire2Learn (D2L), and Moodle

The LMS cartridge makes it easy to import this title’s instructor resources into your learning management system (LMS). These resources include:

  • Test banks
  • Editable chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides
  • Sample course syllabi
  • Lecture notes
  • All tables and figures from the textbook 
Don’t use an LMS platform?

You can still access all of the same online resources for this title via the password-protected Instructor Resource Site.
Student Study Site


The open-access Student Study Site makes it easy for students to maximize their study time, anywhere, anytime. It offers flashcards that strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts, as well as learning objectives that reinforce the most important material.

“This book is the complete package. No more and no less is needed to teach cultural anthropology. The book helps my students see the world bigger, but feel like the world is smaller.” 

Tiffany M. Blackmon
Northern Virginia Community College

“Well written. The prose and narrative are easy to follow and is great to engage and hold student interest. It’s has relevant references to applications of anthropology to real world events, circumstances and activities.” 

David Julian Hodges
Hunter College (CUNY)

“An updated take on the classic intro anthropology text that includes recent national and world developments and conversations”   

Heather York
Southern New Hampshire University

“This book focuses on social structures and it helps students look at themselves in their culture versus different cultures to better understand the social structures and institutions. The authors really put themselves into the shoes of the student in a beginning cultural anthropology course.”


Roxanne Gerbrandt
Austin Peay State University

It's good, but I have another that I prefer that saves students money.

Dr Beverly Bennett
Social Science Dept, Wilbur Wright College
January 15, 2021

Excellent and thorough coverage of topic. The book is well structured and forms the backbone of my course.

Professor Paul Hackett
Marketing Communication Dept, Emerson College
July 25, 2020
Key features

  • The new edition is available as a digital option through SAGE Vantage, an intuitive digital platform that offers auto-graded assignments and interactive multimedia tools—including video—all designed to enable students to better prepare for class.
  • Learning Objectives help students center and focus on the chapter's key points, and are phrased using Bloom's Taxonomy of Measurable Verbs and move toward the critical thinking end of the taxonomy.
  • Ethnography features take in-depth looks at specific cultures, teaches students about the basic tool of anthropology, and helps students think about and figure out themselves.
  • Anthropology Makes a Difference features show students what they can do with an anthropology degree.
  • Global and Local features deal directly with current social issues and shows the direct relevance of anthropology to current events.
  • Unique chapter summaries are phrased in the form of questions that are then answered for a more applied feel and helps get students actively thinking.
  • A carefully developed visual and pedagogical program inspires students to see the world through an anthropological lens.
  • The book covers both historical and contemporary theories without any insistence on any particular approach. 
  • Contemporary, real-world global issues appeal to any introductory student from any discipline. 

Sample Materials & Chapters

6. Economics

11. Gender

Vantage Reference: 
Cultural Anthropology- Vantage Digital Option

For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option

Rent or Buy eBook
ISBN: 9781544333908

ISBN: 9781544333915

ISBN: 9781544363370