Cultural Anthropology

Tribes, States, and the Global System

By (author) John H. Bodley

Paperback - £67.00

Publication date:

24 October 2016

Length of book:

464 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9781442265417

John Bodley’s Cultural Anthropology provides students with the anthropological tools to question and understand their own culture and the world. The sixth edition of this dynamic book has been updated and revised throughout, with a shorter length and a more streamlined focus. Updates include material on China and Hindu South Asia combined into a single chapter, a new chapter assessing the imperial world and the breakdown of states, and new examples throughout.

In this introduction to the basic concepts of cultural anthropology, Bodley challenges students to consider “big questions” about the nature of cultural systems:

  • What is “natural” and what is “cultural” about humans?
  • What is it like to be human under different cultural conditions, and how do socio-cultural systems of different cultural scales satisfy basic human needs?
  • Are race, language, and environment determinants of culture?
  • What are the human costs and benefits of socioeconomic growth?
  • What have been the major turning points in human history?
  • What role do individuals play in shaping culture?

Employing a scale and power approach, the text examines a representative sampling of the world’s major cultural areas and dominant civilizations, from Australian Aborigines, Amazonia, and East African pastoralists to Pacific Islanders, Mesopotamia, China, Hindu India, the British Empire, and the United States; these cultures are shown in depth, as adapting, integrated systems—and as part of regional, continental, and global systems. He concludes the text with a wide-ranging assessment of human problems in the contemporary commercial world, emphasizing inequality, poverty, environmental degradation, and sustainability.

A complimentary instructor’s manual, test bank, and companion website are available to enhance teaching and learning. See “Resources” tab for additional information.
John Bodley’s Cultural Anthropology stands well apart from many other introductory texts. It combines sweeping perspective and grand narrative with wide-ranging cross-cultural and historical data to provide a clearly focused anthropological perspective on our modern world. Bodley does more than introduce anthropology; he shows students how to apply it.