So, in a discussion I observed that wrapping packages was a pedestrian task which the Japanese have elevated to a high art. Which immediately made me wonder, what sorts of things am I doing that I'm actually overdoing or that I culturally expect to be overwrought? That people from other places would peg me as as someone from the US or even the midwest because of what I pay extensive attention to. What about other places? What cultures think a job done right is worth overdoing?
Looking for a basic intro anthropology text that discusses the breadth of social and political structures in 'traditional' societies across the continents - or just across say Africa, or ... Some comments about the mistaken belief of widespread "communal" cultures across Africa has prompted an interest in the breadth of such variances in cultural organisations in 'earlier' or 'traditional' societies. Thus, an introductory text for the layperson would be good, nothing too massive or encyclopaedic.
I'm looking for books that: 1. List different beliefs and practices of many different world cultures, both contemporary or historical cultures. 2. Are accessible, as in not needing an anthropology degree to understand them. 3. Preferably have pictures. 4. Are non-fiction, NOT a narrative with characters. I just want the facts. 5. Can be for kids or adults. 6. Preferably not internet resources because I want to minimize screen time. [more inside]
Tell me about what cultures, cultural practices, arts, religions, languages, lifestyles, hobbies, habits, fashion, unconventional individuals/families, or any other aspects of human life in the U.S. still remain severely underdocumented; or are at risk of fading away before they can be properly or meaningfully documented. [more inside]
I'm looking for academic-level writing on the ways that cities that are built on islands or peninsulas, or in geographically isolated areas, develop and behave differently from cities that are more easily and fully connected to other cities. This would be about the mindset and attitudes and not about urban planning or infrastructure. I'm thinking these may be anthropological or sociological studies. They may even just be a thought pieces or essays. I could swear I saw one that talked about Manhattan and Charleston, but I can't find it.
I'm interested in resources (particularly blogs) that will help me learn about the interesting aspects of other cultures. I would like to be exposed to ideas that will challenge my assumptions about what is "normal" and about how society should work
Anthropologists, please help-- I'm looking for unique examples of interpersonal relationships or family/friendship customs that are blatantly transactional, specifically in so-called "primitive" tribes or far-flung cultures that exist/have existed within the past century. The more surprising, extreme, or out-there the anecdote, the better. [more inside]
OK... I'm probably going to mangle this question, because I'm not a sociologist or anthropologist, or remotely knowledgeable in those fields. So, I'm probably using all my terms incorrectly. But, long story short - it's been my experience that most behaviors that laypeople, in casual conversation, call "human nature" are really just cultural phenomena. In other words - a behavior that someone from the United States thinks is "human nature" might be completely absent in another culture or society. It that's true - then it's not really "human behavior" at all. So - my question - is the tendency for kids in grade school to form cliques "human nature" - or a phenomena that's specific to certain (e.g., our) cultures? [more inside]
Some decades ago I heard the term "Ur trait" (can't be sure of the spelling) in relation to a collection of cultural beliefs or possibly culturally driven practices that are universally distributed in humans around the globe, and which are believed to reach back to the early development of humans, so that they might represent bits of a core of human culture. I'm unsure enough of the concept that I don't want to make up examples which might lead respondents on a wrong path. Googling "ur trait" didn't yield any useful answers. The concept sounds similar, but is not identical to Jung's idea of a collective unconscious, which seems to be related a little more to psychology than cultural anthropology. I'm primarily interested in whether the phrase "ur trait" was ever in use, and secondarily in the concept it represents if not what I've described above.
I’m currently working on my masters in an Industrial/Occupational Psychology program. My main topic of interest will be differences in national, social, and organizational cultures. What sort of anthropological or ethnological resources or books can you recommend regarding learning how to be good participant-observer and the techniques to do so? I’m already familiar with the works on culture from researchers such as Geert Hofestede, Edward Hall, and Fons Trompenaars. If there are any other recommendations regarding relevant resources or texts in related fields that my compliment my studies, please let me know. My interests lie in psychology, sociology, and politics which I believe are applicable. Thanks in advance!
Dating around the world. How does it work? [more inside]
Looking for books that revisit a person or groups of people at different points in their lives, a la the "Up" series by Michael Apted. [more inside]
Looking for writing on how cultures/nations/tribes handled, fared, cope/d with alien influences. In the past or now, ongoing. [more inside]
Are there any cultures in which a smile is not an expression of happiness? [more inside]
Does anyone know about a past or present culture or subculture where it is acceptable to start or end a fair fight with a cockpunch? [more inside]
What are the reasons for and against constitutionally requiring a specific national language? [more inside]
Are we a monogamous species? [more inside]
What online reads can you recommend on the subject of circadian rhythms and rituals, preferably from an anthropological and/or historical point of view? [more inside]
I am searching for examples of The Infinite, or the immeasurably large, in our mythologies and archetypes. I am also interested in the categories of Truth which came out of the emergence of Western, ontological thought. Does the trust in a rationally conceivable reality deny us the infinity of the mythological realm? By rooting ourselves in the present, and denying atemporal mythologies, do we also deny the infinite origins from where we came? [more inside]
Your ideas for nontraditional, off the beaten path, interesting, insightful things to do or see in or close to Venice, Florence, and Rome, Italy?
What are your favorite nontraditional, nontouristy, alternative, culturally-insightful things to do in or near Venice, Florence, and Rome? I mean the deeper anthropological kind of culture, not museums, opera, etc. I'm not looking for the usual must-see tourist destinations or the things that epitomize a city. I want the fascinating little finds you accidentally stumbled on and loved, but which few or no tours would have found because they aren't "sights". If it can give me a glimpse of how contemporary Italians see the world, to appreciate a bit more what it's like to be them, that's a turbo bonus. No points off for plain old fun activities either. [more inside]
What's the difference between "society" and "culture"? [more inside]
What were some of the most idyllic communities to have ever existed? I’m not looking for opinions, I’m looking for hard anthropological examples or studies that have been carried out on such cultures. [more inside]
In the U.S., we get all caught up in the decisions that adult women make and the consequences of those decisions. (To have children, not to have children, to work, to stay home with the children, not to work, to marry, to have children without marrying, etc.) Are there similar convulsions about these cultural issues in other countries, especially non-English speaking ones? How can I learn about them? I'm curious both about how women's roles in in their societies are changing and about how those societies are reacting to the changes.