Peoples and Cultures of the World

Peoples and Cultures of the World

Audiobook CD - 2004 | Library edition.
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Why is anthropology such an inherently fascinating subject? Because it's all about us: human beings. As the "science of humanity," anthropology can help us understand virtually anything about ourselves-from our political and economic systems, to why we get married, to how we decide to buy a particular bottle of wine. Here are just a few of the intriguing questions for which anthropologists study and provide answers: What does it mean if someone raises his eyebrows when he meets you? Is there such a thing as progress? Are modern technological nations really happier and better off than "primitive" hunter-gatherer societies? What is the cultural significance of gift giving? What are the subtle social and psychological rules we follow when we give a gift, and which obligate us when we receive one? How common is cannibalism today? What are the different types of cannibalism, and the beliefs associated with them? In American garbage dumps, what item of trash serves as a clear "stratographic layer," distinguishing one-year's trash from the next? What's the difference between a "matriarchal" and a "matrilineal" society? Which is more common among world cultures? Why are Starbucks coffee shops, "reality" television programs, and such tourist destinations as Las Vegas and Disneyland so popular with American consumers? What is "Human Nature"? These lectures will immerse you in the world of the Trobriand Islanders of Melanesia, the Yanomamo of the Brazilian Amazon; the Dobe Ju/'hoansi, or!Kung Bushmen, of Botswana and Namibia; and other indigenous peoples. Professor Edward Fischer leads an excursion through cultural practices that often seem, to us, quirky, exotic and even repulsive-marriages that include as many as 20 husbands, matrilineal societies, magic spirits and witchcraft, cannibalism and incest-practices that will make you question your assumptions about what is natural, or what is human nature. As you review these customs, Professor Fischer describes the issues that cultural anthropologists face in dealing with them. How should we judge what other cultures do-or should we judge them at all? Should we in the First World lament the effects of our culture on indigenous peoples-that the Maya now have cell phones, frequent Internet cafes, and enjoy watching Hollywood action movies? And what should anthropologists do in cases such as female circumcision or ritualized rape, in which others' customs seriously conflict with our own sense of morality and human rights? Professor Fischer also applies the lessons of cultural anthropology to our own culture by considering the U.S. economy and consumer behavior. Is our economy really based on rational decision-making, as economists and policy makers assert? If so, why do we eat cattle and pigs, but not horses? Why are we willing to shop around to save $10 on a clock radio, but not on a big-screen TV? And why we are fond of buying products that say something about us: micro-brewed beers or specialty wines that reflect our economic status or education, and which set us apart from other consumers? You will grow to appreciate how valuable an understanding of cultural anthropology is in a world of ever-increasing globalization, in which members of even the most remote cultures come into more frequent and more influential contact through international travel, migration, business, and the Internet.
Publisher: Chantilly, Va. : Teaching Co., [2004]
Edition: Library edition.
ISBN: 9781565859197
Branch Call Number: CD 301 FIS
Characteristics: 12 sound discs (approximately 720 min.) :,digital ;,4 3/4 in. +,2 books.
Additional Contributors: Teaching Company


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