Systematic Methods for Analyzing Culture is a practical manual that provides step-by-step instruction for collecting and analyzing cultural data. This compact guide explains complex topics in straightforward and practical terms, via research examples, textual and visual software guides, and hands-on exercises.
Through each chapter’s introductory examples, the manual illustrates how socially learned knowledge provides group members with shared understandings of the world, which allow for mutually intelligible interactions. The authors then carefully walk readers through the process of eliciting those socially learned, shared, and thus cultural representations of reality, which structure the thinking and practice of individuals inhabiting social groups. Specifically, the book shows how researchers can elicit such thought and behavior via methods such as free lists, pile sorts, cultural consensus and consonance analysis, textual analysis, and personal network research.
The book will help both undergraduate and graduate students identify ways to unpack the "black box" of culture, which may be absent or given only cursory attention within their training and respective fields. The book’s clear and systematic step-by-step walkthroughs of each method will also encourage more established researchers, educators, and practitioners—from diverse fields and with varying levels of experience—to integrate techniques for assessing cultural processes into their research, teaching, and practice.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Cognitive Anthropology: Theoretical Foundations 3. Cultural Domain Analysis: Free Lists 4. Cultural Domain Analysis: Pile Sorts 5. Cultural Consensus Analysis 6. Cultural Consonance Analysis 7. Text Analysis: Cultural Models (and Beyond) 8. Personal Network Analysis 9. Conclusion
H.J. François Dengah II, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Utah State University.
Jeffrey G. Snodgrass, PhD, is Professor of Anthropology at Colorado State University.
Evan R. Polzer is a practicing social scientist at the University of Colorado’s Department of Emergency Medicine.
William Cody Nixon is a current MA student at Colorado State University’s Department of Anthropology and Geography.
"Systematic Methods for Analyzing Culture provides a timely map to sociocognitive data collection and analysis. This user-friendly book will engage students and scholars alike. The software guides are an excellent resource, while the book overall offers much, much more." — Leon Anderson, Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology, Utah State University, USA
"At last -- a practical guide for teaching and learning systematic methods for collecting and analyzing cultural data. Professors who've wanted to teach this course but held back because they needed a text for their students to follow now have that book." — H. Russell Bernard, Director, Institute for Social Science Research, Arizona State University, USA
"This is an excellent book. It provides very clear explanations of a variety of important methods, and at the same time provides specific guidance on how to use them on real data. It also presents very nice examples of how results using these methods were interpreted in published studies. I heartily recommend the book." — Steve P. Borgatti, Chair and Professor, Department of Management, Gatton College of Business and Economics, University of Kentucky, USA
"If you put off trying to understand how culture affects health in your research because it seemed outside of your field, you no longer have an excuse. Clear, readable (and sometimes humorous!) explanations of theory with step-by-step methods make this the perfect resource for those new to cultural analysis." — Michelle Carras, Practicing Public Health Research Associate, USA
“This book is an exciting contribution that will be useful to researchers at multiple levels who are incorporating cognitive methods for the study of culture into their study designs: professionals, faculty, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates. As a comprehensive and detailed step-by-step guide, it makes decades of innovation in ethnographically grounded quantitative methods far more understandable, and is unlike anything else available on the market. This will be an especially important practical tool for teaching and mentorship.” — Jason A. DeCaro, Professor, Department of Anthropology, The University of Alabama, USA
"This book is an excellent resource for researchers interested in examining human cultures for a broad array of different academic fields. The guide is also a great tool for teaching research methods. The authors use clear examples to uniquely guide readers step-by-step through the processes of data collection and analysis." — Michael Gavin, Professor, Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, College of Natural Resources, Colorado State University, USA
"Dengah, Snodgrass, and colleagues have done a remarkable job pulling together a diverse and powerful and set of methods for analyzing cultural phenomena. Perhaps more impressively, they give the reader clear, step by step instructions for how to actually carry out the analyses – a set of skills that heretofore one needed a secret handshake to access. This will be a goldmine for researchers and students." — Craig Hadley, Professor, Department of Anthropology, Emory University, USA
"Continuing a long legacy of cognitive anthropology’s contribution to anthropological theory and methods, Systematic Methods for Analyzing Culture: A Practical Guide provides readers with a clear roadmap in applying contemporary cognitive anthropology theories and methods to their ethnographic research through innovative data sets and practice problems." — Douglas W. Hume, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Philosophy, Northern Kentucky University, USA
"I’ve longed for a book like this, which presents the cognitive science behind cultural models in a clear and accessible way, and then offers practical methods to identify those models. These methods do not replace participant observation (as the authors point out) but they do enhance them. They provide, in effect, a way of crystallizing what ethnographers do into findings that are understandable across many disciplines. This is a very teachable and useful book." — Tanya Marie Luhrmann, Professor, Department of Anthropology, Stanford University, USA
"A well-crafted practical textbook to help master the research tools necessary to assess cultural sharing and get better acquainted with the most relevant anthropological theoretical frameworks." — Kateryna Maltseva, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine
"This book represents an essential, rigorous, and timely contribution to the social sciences, providing the reader with step-by-step practical guidance on how to collect and analyze cultural data in a sound way." — Halley M. Pontes, Lecturer and Researcher, School of Psychological Sciences, University of Tasmania, Australia.
"Anthropologists who approach their craft as science will find this book a welcome addition as there are currently only a small number of practical guides. The topics covered by this book are exactly those that are increasingly used in both academic and applied anthropological research." — Christopher McCarty, Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, USA
"This book is a ‘compass’ in the methodological maze of collecting and interpreting cultural data in our globalized world. It will safely guide you to your destination!" — Vasileios Stavropoulos, Senior Lecturer of Clinical Psychology, Victoria University, Australia
"This long-overdue ‘how to’ manual provides clear, step-by-step instructions for researchers wishing to robustly incorporate cultural beliefs and behaviors into qualitative and quantitative research. It is an unprecedented contribution to psychological anthropology (and beyond)." — Lesley Jo Weaver, Associate Professor, Department of International Studies, University of Oregon, USA
"Culture matters, now more than ever when humanity must negotiate difference to meet pressing challenges. Methods matter, too, and this invaluable handbook empowers users to open the black box of culture and probe specific lived worlds through their constituent concepts, logics and dynamics. An essential source that is certain to advance our understanding of a phenomenon universal among humans, but endlessly varied in its forms." — Carol M. Worthman, Professor, Department of Anthropology, Emory University, USA
"This book brings together, in a practical step-by-step guide, new and old methods for studying culture. It is an essential resource for learning a range of approaches for systematically analyzing cultural data." — Amber Wutich, Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, USA
"The idea that social scientific research is either qualitative or quantitative is mistaken. Cultural data can be collected, studied, and analyzed systematically, and this volume shows that in the most comprehensive way." — Dimitris Xygalatas, Associate Professor, Departments of Anthropology and Psychological Sciences, University of Connecticut, USA