Inside Cultures: A New Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Inside Cultures

A New Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, 2nd Edition

By William Balee


340 pages

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pub: 2016-04-18
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This concise, contemporary, and inexpensive option for instructors of cultural anthropology breaks away from the traditional structure of introductory textbooks. Emphasizing the interaction between humans and their environment, the tension between human universals and cultural variation, and the impacts of colonialism on traditional cultures, Inside Cultures shows students how cultural anthropology can help us understand the complex, globalized world around us. This second edition:

  • includes brand new material on a variety of subjects, including genomic studies, race and racism, cross-cultural issues of gender identity, terrorism and ethnography, and business anthropology;

  • presents updated and enhanced discussions of medical anthropology, European colonialism and disease, the Atlantic slave trade, and much more;

  • offers personal stories of the author’s fieldwork in Amazonia, sidebars illustrating fascinating cases of cultures in action, and other pedagogical elements such as timelines;

  • is written is clear, supple prose that delights readers while informing them


"This highly readable textbook successfully combines the best of the science and humanism of cultural anthropology, using fascinating examples from both the history and the cutting edge of the discipline."

- Erica Hill, University of Alaska Southeast, praise for the first edition

"When I choose texts for my introductory cultural anthropology course, I look for ones that include an engaging narrative voice, ground the lower-division anthropology student in the usefulness and humanity of the discipline, and get students excited about the prospect of becoming anthropologists. Inside Cultures hits the mark. Remarkably exhaustive without being overwhelming, the book is a clearly written inventory of the subject matter, methodologies, and central theories of cultural anthropology. Yet it also generates energy through an engaging tone and vibrant examples that make it easy for instructors to demonstrate their respect for anthropology, and for students to fall in love with it. Inside Cultures is not just a textbook, it's a thoroughly delightful invitation to the discipline."

- Rachael Stryker, Mills College, praise of the first edition

Table of Contents

1. The Study of Us

2. Sociocultural Universals

3. Cultural Variation

4. Where Anthropology Comes From

5. Contemporary Theory and Method

6. Social Organization

7. Politics and Power

8. Ecology, Landscape and Culture

9. Colonialism and the World System

10. Collapse and Change

11. Applications of Cultural Anthropology

12. Globalization and Indigeneity

13. Concluding Remarks

About the Author

William Balée is Professor of Anthropology at Tulane University. He has taught cultural anthropology at Tulane since 1991. He received a Ph.D. (1984) degrees in anthropology from Columbia University. His doctoral dissertation was based on fieldwork he carried out among the Tupi-speaking Ka'apor Indians of the eastern Brazilian Amazon. He has continued to do fieldwork among the Ka'apor ever since, as well as among other indigenous lowland South American societies elsewhere in Brazil and in the tropical and subtropical forest regions of Bolivia and Argentina. He is the author of Footprints of the Forest: Ka'apor Ethnobotany: The Historical Ecology of Plant Utilization by an Amazonian People (1994), which won the Mary Klinger Award from the Society for Economic Botany. His other books include Resource Management in Amazonia: Indigenous and Folk Strategies (co-edited with D.A. Posey, 1989), Advances in Historical Ecology (edited, 1998), Time and Complexity in Historical Ecology: Studies in the Neotropical Lowlands (co-edited with C.L. Erickson, 2006), and A Brief Introduction to Historical Ecology (forthcoming in 2016, Routledge). He co-edits the New Frontiers in Historical Ecology Series for Routledge.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural