Cultural Anthropology (14th Edition)
One of the most obvious changes in this fourteenth edition of Cultural Anthropology is the new format—a single-column format with larger photographs which we hope will be more engaging. But the changes go far beyond style. As always, we spend considerable time updating the research, not only on topics already covered, but on topics we think should be added. In this edition, we have also reorganized and reordered some chapters. For example, we have moved the chapter on culture and the individual to follow culture and culture change to reinforce the idea that individuals are agents of change. To make more room for discussion of practicing and applied anthropology, we have taken medical anthropology out of applied anthropology and put it into its own chapter on health and illness. But because we did not want to add more chapters, we incorporated some discussion of theory, formerly in a separate chapter, into understanding and explaining culture.
We remain committed to some basic principles. The first is that we want our readers to develop a better understanding of, and hopefully, greater tolerance for human diversity. The second is that we believe that to better understand cultural variation, we need to consider the physical and social environments in which people live. The third is that while an introductory book must impart core knowledge and concepts, we try very hard to convey that research is an ongoing, exciting process and therefore ideas and understandings change over time.
Most importantly, we have always tried to go beyond descriptions to explain not only what humans are and were like but also why they got to be that way, in all their variety. This edition is no different. An important part of updating the text is finding new explanations, and we try to communicate the necessity to evaluate these new explanations logically as well as on the basis of the available evidence. Throughout the book, we try to communicate that no idea, including ideas put forward in textbooks, should be accepted even tentatively without supporting tests that could have gone the other way.
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