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Cultural Anthropology (Book Alone), 7th Edition

By Marvin Harris, Orna Johnson

Published by Pearson

Published Date: May 11, 2006


Using a cultural materialist approach, the seventh edition of Cultural Anthropology provides a framework for explaining how the parts of sociocultural systems are interrelated and how they change over time.


“Marvin Harris' lifelong commitment to a scientific anthropology shines through in this comprehensive and well-written textbook,” praises one reviewer.

Described as accessible, engaging, well-illustrated, and comprehensive, this text covers a wide range of Western and non-Western cultures for analysis and comparison. “Marvin Harris can continue to bring new insights to the field of anthropology and provide ways to inspire students new to this discipline,” writes a long-time user.

Cultural Anthropology excels in making anthropology accessible and relevant to today's students. The authors succeed in showing not only what the current status of anthropology is but also the potential of anthropology to explain human culture in all of its diversity and magnificence,” writes another.


For the seventh edition, rReadings from Spradley/McCurdy, Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology, 12/e have been integrated with wherever possible through emic and etic interpretations within the levels of infrastructure, structure and superstructure.  Chapter 9, “Descent, Locality, and Kinship,” has been rewritten to provide more streamlined coverage. Increased use of the universal pattern model through graphics and new content throughout each chapter. The universal pattern model is introduced in Chapter 2 and applied throughout the text to reinforce how differences in civilization impact infrastructure and adaptive patterns.

Enhanced problem-orientation in the new edition capitalizes on this growing trend through interim questions after each section in each chapter.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction.

The Five Fields of Anthropology.

What Is Distinctive about Cultural Anthropology?

Why Study Anthropology?

2. The Nature of Culture.

Definitions of Culture.

Society, Subculture, and Sociocultural System.

Science and the Relativity of Truth.

Fieldwork and the Mental and Behavioral Aspects of Culture.

The Universal Pattern.

The Diversity of Anthropological Theories.

Cultural Materialism.

3. The Evolution of the Capacity for Culture.

Genes and Natural Selection.

Nonhuman Culture.

The Evolution of the Hominids.

Apes and Language.

Aggressive versus Cooperative Behavior among Apes.

4. Language and Culture.

Universal Features of Language.

Structural Linguistics: Elements of Language Analysis.

Biological and Cultural Aspects of Language.

Language Issues and Theories.


5. Production.

Evolution of Energy Production.

The Influence of the Environment and Ecology.

Carrying Capacity and the Law of Diminishing Returns.

Hunting and Gathering.



Energy and the Evolution of Culture.

Industrial Food Energy Systems.

6. Reproduction.

The Relation between Production and Reproduction.

Population Pressure versus Population Growth.

Preindustrial Reproductive Practices.

The Costs and Benefits of Rearing Children.

The Contraception, Abortion, and Infanticide Debate.

Industrial Modes of Reproduction.

Women's Status, Education, and Fertility.

7. Economic Organization.

Definition of Economy.


Redistributive Exchange.

Reciprocity versus Redistribution.

The Infrastructural Basis of Redistribution and Reciprocity.

Stratified Redistribution.

Price Market Exchange: Buying and Selling.

Patterns of Work.

8. Domestic Life.

The Household and the Domestic Sphere of Culture.

Family Groups and the Mode of Production and Reproduction.

What Is Marriage?

Economic Aspects of Marriage.

Preferential Marriages.

Domestic Groups and the Avoidance of Incest.

9. Descent, Locality, and Kinship.



Descent Rules: Cognatic and Unilineal Descent.

Postmarital Locality Patterns.

Kinship Terminologies.

Kin Terms Are Negotiated, Not Written in Stone.

10. Law, Order, and War in Nonstate Societies.

Law and Order in Band and Village Societies.


The Leopard Skin Chief.

Nonkin Associations: Sodalities.

Warfare among Hunters and Gatherers.

Warfare among Sedentary Village Societies.

Why War?

Warfare, the Politics of Prestige, and the Big Man System.

11. Origins of Chiefdoms and the State.

The Evolution of Big Man Systems into Chiefdoms.

Infrastructural and Structural Aspects of Political Control.

The Origins of States.

Ideology as a Source of Power.

The State and Physical Coercion.

12. Class and Caste.

Class and Power.

Peasant Classes.

The Image of Limited Good.

Castes in India.

13. Ethnicity, Race, and Racism.


Biological Races versus Social Races versus Ethnic Groups.

The Competitive Dynamics of Ethnic and Racial Groups.

Defining Racism.

14. Sex and Gender Hierarchies.

Sex versus Gender.

Human Sexuality.


Restrictive versus Permissive Cultures.

Male Homosexuality.

Female Homosexuality.

Gender Ideologies.

The Relativity of Gender Ideologies.

Are Women Equally Represented in Ethnographies.

Gender Hierarchy.

Variations in Gender Hierarchies.

Causes of Variation in Gender Hierarchies.

Hoes, Plows, and Gender Hierarchies.

Gender and Exploitation.

Gender and Hyperindustrialism.

15. Psychological Anthropology.

Culture and Personality.

Cultural Constructs Personality.

Mode of Production and Socialization Practices.

Early Childhood Training.

Subsistence and Adult Personality.

Schemas and Cognition.

Culture and Mental Illness.

16. Religion.


Animatism and Mana.

Natural and Supernatural.

Magic and Religion.

The Organization of Religious Beliefs and Practices.

Religion and Political Economy: High Gods.

Revitalization Movements.

Religion and Social Action.

17. Art.

What Is Art?

Art as a Cultural Category.

The Evolution of Music and Dance.

Verbal Arts.

18. Applied Anthropology.

What Is Applied Anthropology?

Research, Theory, and Action.

What Do Applied Anthropologists Have to Offer?

Applied Anthropology and Development.

Medical Anthropology.

Demographics: The U.S. Census Undercount.


Business and Anthropology.

Poverty and Health.

Anthropological Advocacy.

19. Globalization.

What is globalization?

Socio-cultural Evolution and Development

The Green Revolution

Free Market vs. Anti-Market Forces

The Effect of Globalization on Indigenous People

Resistance to Oppression

Preserving Indigenous Cultures

Vanishing Knowledge




Cultural Anthropology (Book Alone), 7th Edition

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