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Synopsis

This introductory text introduces basic concepts in cultural anthropology by comparing cultures of increasing scale and focusing on specific universal issues throughout human history. Cultural materials are presented in integrated ethnographic case studies organized by cultural and geographic areas to show how ideological, social organization, and material features fit together in specific sociocultural systems. John H. Bodley explicitly seeks a balance between ecological-materialist and cultural-ideological explanations of sociocultural systems, while stressing the importance of individual power-seeking and human agency. Part One examines domestic-scale, autonomous tribal cultures. Part Two presents politically organized, class-based civilizations and ancient empires in the imperial world. Part Three surveys global, industrial, market-based civilizations in the contemporary commercial world. Cultural Anthropology uniquely challenges students to consider the big questions about the nature of cultural systems.

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