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Cultural Anthropology

Cultural Anthropology
A Global Perspective

Tenth Edition

January 2020 | 496 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
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Cultural Anthropology: A Global Perspective delves into both classic and current research in the field, reflecting a commitment to anthropology’s holistic and integrative approach. This text illuminates how the four core subfields of anthropology—biological anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, and cultural anthropology—together yield a comprehensive understanding of humanity. In examining anthropological research, this text often refers to research conducted in other fields, sparking the critical imagination that brings the learning process to life. The Tenth Edition expands on the book’s hallmark three-themed approach (diversity of human societies, similarities that make all humans fundamentally alike, and synthetic-complementary approach) by introducing a new fourth theme addressing psychological essentialism. Recognizing the necessity for students to develop an enhanced global awareness more than ever before, author Raymond Scupin uses over 30 years of teaching experience to bring readers closer to the theories, data, and critical thinking skills vital to appreciating the full sweep of the human condition.
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Part I: Basic Concepts of Anthropology
Chapter 1: Introduction to Anthropology
Anthropology: The Four Subfields

Holistic Anthropology, Interdisciplinary Research, and the Global Perspective

Anthropological Explanations

Humanistic-Interpretive Approaches in Anthropology

Why Study Anthropology?

Summary and Review of Learning Objectives/Key Terms

Chapter 2: Human Evolution
Theory of Evolution

The Scientific Revolution

Darwin, Wallace, and Natural Selection

Hominin Evolution


Homo Erectus

Transition to Homo Sapiens

The Evolution of Modern Homo Sapiens

Modern Homo Sapiens Culture: The Upper Paleolithic

Skin Color

Summary and Review of Learning Objectives/Key Terms

Chapter 3: Culture
The Characteristics of Culture

Culture is Learned

Culture is Shared

Aspects of Culture

Cultural Diversity

Cultural Universals

Summary and Review of Learning Objectives/Key Terms

Chapter 4: The Process of Enculturation: Psychological and Cognitive Anthropology
Biology versus Culture

Instincts and Human Nature

Enculturation: Culture and Personality

Psychoanalytic Approaches in Anthropology

Enculturation and Cognition

Cognitive Anthropology

Evolutionary Psychology

Enculturation and Emotions


The Limits of Enculturation

Summary and Review of Learning Objectives/Key Terms

Chapter 5: Language
Nonhuman Animal Communication

Animal Communication versus Human Language

The Evolution of Language

The Structure of Language

Language Acquisition

Language, Thought, and Culture

Historical Linguistics


Nonverbal Communication

Summary and Review of Learning Objectives/Key Terms

Chapter 6: Anthropological Explanations
Nineteenth-Century Evolutionism


Historical Particularism


Twentieth-Century Evolutionism

Marxist Anthropology

Symbolic Anthropology: A Humanistic Method of Inquiry

Feminist Anthropology

Postmodernism and Anthropology

Twenty-First-Century Cultural Evolution

Summary and Review of Learning Objectives/Key Terms

Chapter 7: Analyzing Sociocultural Systems
Ethnographic Fieldwork

Ethnographic Research and Strategies

Ethics in Anthropological Research

Analysis of Ethnographic Data

Sociocultural Evolution: A Contemporary Model

Types of Sociocultural Systems

Cross-Cultural Research

Summary and Review of Learning Objectives/Key Terms

Part II: Studying Different Societies
Chapter 8: Environment, Subsistence, and Demography
Subsistence and the Physical Environment


Modern Foraging Environments and Subsistence

Demographic Conditions for Foragers

Environment and subsistence for Horticulturalists and Pastoralists

Demographics and Settlement

Environment, subsistence, and Demography for Chiefdoms

Environment and Demography in Agricultural States

Environment and Energy Use in Industrial and Postindustrial Societies

Demographic Change

Summary and Review of Learning Objectives/Key Terms

Chapter 9: Technology and Economics
Anthropological Explanations of Technology

Anthropology and Economics

Technology in Foraging Societies

Economics in Foraging Societies

Technology among Horticulturalists and Pastoralists

Economics in Horticulturalist and Pastoralist Societies

Technology in Chiefdoms

Economics in Chiefdoms

Technology in Agricultural States

Economics in Agricultural States

Technology and Economic Change in Industrial and Postindustrial Societies

Summary and Review of Learning Objectives/Key Terms

Chapter 10: Social Structure, the Family, Marriage, and Age
Social Structure

Understanding Incest Avoidance and the Incest Taboo


Social Structure in Hunter-Gatherer Societies

Social Structure in Tribes

Social Structure in Chiefdoms

Social Structure in Agricultural States

Social Stratification in Agricultural States

Social Structure in Industrial and Postindustrial Societies

Social Stratification in Industrial and Postindustrial Societies

Summary and Review of Learning Objectives/Key Terms

Chapter 11: Gender and Sexuality
The Complexities of Sex

The Complexities of Gender

Transgender and LGBTQ Individuals

Gender in Foraging Societies

Gender in Tribal Societies

Patriarchy in Tribal Societies

Gender in Chiefdom Societies

Gender in Agricultural States

Gender in Industrial and Postindustrial Societies

Gender in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia

Sexuality in Different Societies

Summary and Review of Learning Objectives/Key Terms

Chapter 12: Politics, Warfare, and Law
Politics, Warfare, and Law

Political Organization in Foraging Societies

Warfare and Violence in Foraging Societies

Political Organization in Horticulturalist and Pastoralist Tribes

Explaining Tribal Warfare

Political Authority in Chiefdoms

The Evolution of Chiefdoms

Politics in Agricultural States

Political Organization in Industrial and Postindustrial States

Warfare and Industrial Technology

Summary and Review of Learning Objectives/Key Terms

Chapter 13: Religion and Aesthetics

Myths and Rituals

Rites of Passage

Cognition and Religion

Aesthetics: Art and Music

Religion among Foragers

Art, Music, and Religion among Foragers

Religion among Horticulturalists and Pastoralists

Religion in Chiefdoms

Art, Architecture, and Music in Chiefdoms

Religion in Agricultural States

Art, Architecture, and Music in Agricultural States

Religion and Secularization in Industrial and Postindustrial Societies

Art and Music in Industrial and Postindustrial Societies

Summary and Review of Learning Objectives/Key Terms

Part III: Globalization and its Impact
Chapter 14: Globalization, Culture, and Indigenous Societies
Globalization: A Contested Term

Globalization: Technological and Economic Trends

Globalization: General Theoretical Approaches

Anthropological Analysis and Globalization

Globalization, Politics, and Culture

Globalization and Indigenous Peoples

Forms of Resistance among Indigenous Peoples

Pro- and Anti-Globalization: An Anthropological Contribution

Summary and Review of Learning Objectives/Key Terms

Chapter 15: Globalization, Colonialism, and Postcolonialism
Globalization and Colonialism

Consequences of Globalization and Colonialism

Political Changes: Independence and Nationalist Movements

Uneven Economic Development

Ethnographic Studies

Social Structure in Postcolonial Societies

Patterns of Ethnicity

Summary and Review of Learning Objectives/Key Terms

Chapter 16: Race and Ethnicity
Race, Racism, and Culture

Modern Racism in Western Thought

Critiques of Scientific Racism

The Cultural and Social Significance of Race


Anthropological Perspectives on Ethnicity

Patterns of Ethnic Relations

Ethnic Relations in the United States


Summary and Review of Learning Objectives/Key Terms

Chapter 17: Applied Anthropology
The Roles of the Applied Anthropologist

The Roles of the Applied Anthropologist in Planned Change

Applied Anthropology, Climate Change, and Sustainability

Medical Anthropology

Cultural Resource Management: Applied Archaeology

Applied Anthropology and Human Rights

Summary and Review of Learning Objectives/Key Terms



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“I teach anthropology at four different colleges and universities, and it is hands down the best of the textbooks my departments have chosen.”

Jacquelyn Kyle
Rowan College at Burlington County

One of the greatest strengths is the acknowledgment of the evolutionary and psychological aspects of human nature. It also includes great coverage of the scientific method, epistemology, and topics like religion and ritual.”

Dimitris Xygalatas
University of Connecticut
Key features


  • A fourth core theme of psychological essentialism, the flawed beliefs that members of certain categories or classifications share an underlying invisible essence, is introduced.
  • A new chapter on gender and sexuality explores the complexities of topics such as transgender and LGBTQ issues in various societies throughout the world. 
  • A new condensed chapter on Globalization, Colonialism, and Postcolonialism provides classical and contemporary research on how people in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia have adapted to global processes initiated by colonialism.
  • Updated Anthropologists at Work boxes, profiling prominent anthropologists, go behind the scenes to trace the personal and professional development of some of the field’s leading experts.
  • Updated research on human evolution provides the most current paleoanthropological and archaeological research on human evolution.
  • A new discussion on the twenty-first century cultural evolution provides new discussions of dual inheritance theory and cultural attractor theory (epidemiological theory).
  • New, updated, and expanded discussions include coverage of recent fossil and archaeological evidence, discussions of anthropological research on color perception in various societies, developments of the anthropological research on enculturation and emotions, and more.


  • An organization around four unifying themes structure the material presented in this textbook, helping students grasp the complex field of cultural anthropology:
    1. diversity of human societies
    2. similarities that make all humans fundamentally alike
    3. synthetic-complementary approach
    4. psychological essentialism
  • Critical Perspectives boxes are designed to stimulate independent reasoning and judgment by prompting students to take on the role of anthropologists and engage in the critical analysis of specific problems that arise in anthropological research.
  • Chapter Outlines at the beginning of each chapter provide students with a comprehensive view of the content ahead.
  • Learning Objectives prompt students to begin each chapter with an idea of what they should seek to understand as well as summarize at the end of the section.
  • Every chapter ends with a Summary and Review of Learning Objectives, helping students review and better retain the main and major concepts.
  • A list of Key Terms with page numbers in every chapter helps students focus on the key concepts introduced.

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