In This Section:
I. Author Bios
II. Author Letter
I. Author Bio
James P. Spradley was a professor of Anthropology at Macalester College from 1962 until his passing in 1982. He was a prolific author who wrote or edited 20 books in 12 years. He made especially notable contributions to the literature on ethnography and qualitative research.
David McCurdy has been a professor of Anthropology at Macalester since 1966, acting as chair of the department for extended periods since 1969. He was the first recipient of the American Anthropological Association/ Mayfield Award for Undergraduate Teaching (1997), and he was the subject of an article in 1977 by Change Magazine for innovative teaching in anthropology. Professor McCurdy received a B.A. from Cornell University in 1957, a Masters in Anthropology from Stanford University in 1959, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Cornell Univeristy in 1964.
He completed a major ethnography (1961-1963), then restudy (1985, 1991, 1994) of a Bhil tribal community in Rajasthan, India. He has also conducted a cross-cultural study of spirit possession (1966-1967). His ethnographic studies have examined corporate managers (1983), stockbrokers (1980), Jehovah witnesses (1973), as well as members of an environment movement (1968-1969). He has also performed continued ethnography (1988-1999) on a national motocycle association.
II. Author Letter
Forty-one years ago, James Spradley and I prepared the first edition of an introductory anthology, CONFORMITY AND CONFLICT: Readings in Cultural Anthropology. Regularly revised since then, CONFORMITY ... will appear in its fourteenth edition this coming summer. I write to share with you some of its enduring features and report on what is new for the coming version.
From the beginning, Jim and I sought to design a reader that was accessible to students and useful to anthropology instructors. We searched for articles written by anthropologists for the public since, like the public, students rarely had previous experience with our discipline. Where suitable articles were unavailable, we asked anthropologists to write selections especially designed for CONFORMITY ... using a narrative style. To enhance interest, we also chose material that dealt with current topics and American life so students could see how anthropology might reveal aspects of their own lives and social settings. For instructors, we organized the book around typical cultural anthropology texts. And, we sought out articles that stressed the importance of culture, cross-cultural misunderstanding, social structure, basic approaches to explanation, and social justice. As time went on, I added part introductions that discussed and defined basic anthropological terms and approaches for use by instructors who chose not to assign regular textbooks. More recently, I added additional selections on globalization, medical anthropology, and applied anthropology since these topics have become more important to anthropologists and students.
The fourteenth edition mirrors this general plan and contains fresh material to enhance student interest and understanding. Additions include:
• Eight new articles, four of them written especially for this edition.
• Updates and revisions of five articles found in the thirteenth edition.
• Two articles brought back from previous editions.
• Discussion of two new concepts, metaphor and linguistic framing, for Part 2 (Language and Communication), as well as an exciting new article on current research related to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.
• Addition to Part 3 (Subsistence and Ecology) of a new article on Eskimo "science" and a second selection brought back from a previous edition detailing the relation between animal domestication and the development and spread of pandemic diseases.
• Two new articles in Part 6 (Identity, Roles, and Groups) including one original to this edition on the how the Internet shapes one's work identity in America, and a second on Western women's reactions to Muslim women's dress.
• A new original article on tourism and a second brought back about globalization added to Part 9 (Globalization.)
• Three new articles, two of them original, included in Part 10 (Culture Change and Applied Anthropology).
In closing, I hope you will take a look at the fourteenth edition and find that it meets your instructional needs and those of your students. And as always, I encourage you to send me your comments, suggestions, and ideas for future articles, as well as your own original submissions.
All the best,
David W. McCurdy
World Map and Geographical Placement of Readings
Culture and Ethnography
1 Ethnography and Culture
James P. Spradley
To discover culture, the ethnographer must learn from the informant as a student.
2 Eating Christmas in the Kalahari
Richard Borshay Lee
The “generous” gift of a Christmas ox involves the anthropologist in a classic case of
3 Fieldwork on Prostitution in the Era of AIDS
Claire E. Sterk
Fieldwork among urban prostitutes means doing ethnography under difficult but, in the
end, manageable circumstances.
4 Nice Girls Don’t Talk to Rastas [Revised]
Interaction between a U.S. student and a Rastafarian illustrates the destructive power of
naïve realism in the fieldwork setting.
Language and Communication [Revised]
5 Shakespeare in the Bush
Cross-cultural communication breaks down when an anthropologist attempts to translate
the meaning of Hamlet to the Tiv.
6. Whorf Revisited: You Are What You Speak [NEW]Guy Deutscher
New evidence supports Benjamin Lee Whorf’s contention that peoples’ mother tongue can
shape their experience of the world.
7. Managing Meaning: The Military Name Game
To frame the meaning of its military operations, U.S. armed forces try to name them
positively without offending anyone.
8 Conversation Style: Talking on the Job
On the job, men and women use distinctive conversation styles to ask for help, leading them to
evaluate performance and character differently.
Subsistence and Ecology
9 The Hunters: Scarce Resources in the Kalahari
Richard Borshay Lee
!Kung and other foragers traditionally worked less and ate better than many other people
with more “advanced” food producing techniques. Today, however, their survival depends
more on drilling wells and keeping cattle than on collecting wild foods.10 Eskimo Science [NEW]
The knowledge developed by Eskimos to hunt successfully contains the same basic principles
that underlie a more formally structured scientific method.
11 Domestication and the Evolution of Disease
Herd animal diseases that evolved to infect humans have ended up killing millions of people
in the old and new world.
12 Forest Development the Indian Way [Revised]
Richard K. Reed
South American governments could learn much about tropical forest development from the
Amazonian Indians who live there.
13 Reciprocity and the Power of Giving
Gifts not only function to tie people together, they may also be used to “flatten” an opponent and control
the behavior of others.
14 Poverty, Office Work, and the Crack Alternative
Poor, uneducated Puerto Rican men living in Spanish Harlem feel that the risks they run selling drugs are preferable
to the disrespect they encounter as low-wage employees in New York’s financial and service companies.
15 Cocaine and the Economic Deterioration of Bolivia
The world market for cocaine robs Bolivian villages of their men and causes problems for health, nutrition,
transportation, and family.
16 Malawi versus the World Bank
Malawi government’s successful state subsidized fertilizer program challenges the World Bank and
IMF’s insistence on market-driven agricultural programs.
Kinship and Family
17 Mother’s Love: Death without Weeping
Close mother-child bonds suffered in the presence of high infant mortality in a Brazilian shantytown
although recent changes have reduced the problem to some degree.
18 Family and Kinship in Village India
David W. McCurdy
Kinship still organizes the lives of Bhil villagers despite economic opportunities that draw people away
from the community and dependence on relatives.
19 Polyandry: When Brothers Take a Wife
Melvyn C. Goldstein
By jointly marrying one woman, Tibetan brothers preserve family resources and the “good life.”
20 Uterine Families and the Women’s Community
To succeed in a traditional patrilineal family, a Chinese woman had to create her own informal uterine
family inside her husband’s household.
Identity, Roles, and Groups
21 You@Work: Jobs, Identity, and the Internet [NEW]
Today’s U.S. job mobility requires “branding” one’s identity through careful use of the Internet.
22 The Opt Out Phenomenon: Women, Work, and Identity in America [Revised and retitled]Dianna Shandy
Why were young, educated professional women leaving high-paying jobs for a life at home and what
difference has today’s tough economy made?
23 Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? [NEW]
Americans should work for justice in the world, not save Muslim women from wearing burqas or
following their Islamic religion.
24 Mixed Blood
Jefferson M. Fish
A woman can change her race from black to “brunette” by taking a plane from New York to Brazil.
Law and Politics
25 Cross-Cultural Law: The Case of the Gypsy Offender
Legal cultures clash when a young Gypsy is convicted of using someone else’s social security number
to apply for a car loan.
26 Life without Chiefs
Small societies based on reciprocal and redistributive economic exchange can do without officials.27 The Founding Indian Fathers [NEW]
Although their contribution goes unrecognized, Indian, especially Iroquoian, political structure may
have served as a model that helped to produce a United States federal government
Religion, Magic, and World View
28 Taraka’s Ghost
Stanley A. Freed and Ruth S. Freed
A woman relieves her anxiety and gains family support when a friend’s ghost possesses her.
29 Baseball Magic [Revised]
American baseball players from the games introduction to today employ magical practices as they
try to deal with the uncertainty of their game.
30 Run for the Wall: An American Pilgrimage
An annual ritual motorcycle pilgrimage from Los Angles to Washington, DC personally transforms
the Vietnam veterans and others who ride in it.31 Body Ritual Among the Nacirema [NEW]
The Nacirema display a complex array of body rituals aimed at achieving health and beauty.
32 How Sushi Went Global [Brought back from previous edition]
Theodore C. Bestor
International interdependence between tuna fishermen and sushi as a Japanese culinary style
becomes popular in a globalized world.
33 Village Walks: Tourism and Globalization among the Tharu of Nepal [NEW}
Arjun Guneratne and Kate Bjork
Advertised as a primitive tribe, Tharu villagers endure tours that falsely treat them as part of the
Chitwan National Forest’s natural history and have responded by building a museum to separate their
past from the present.
34 The Road to Refugee Resettlement [Revised]
Nuer refugees must develop the skill and determination to pass through a series of bureaucratic
hurdles to reach and adjust to life in the United States.
35 Global Women in the New Economy
Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russell Hochschild
Millions of women migrate from poor to wealthy nations serving as nannies, maids, and sex workers. T
hey send money home but find it hard to separate from their countries and families.
Culture Change and Applied Anthropology xxx
36 Suggestions for Developers: The Peace Corps Problems in Botswana [NEW}Hoyt S. Alverson
An anthropologist discovers why some Peace Corps volunteers fail to complete their assignments in rural
Botswana, citing perceptions of their role and naïve realism as the basic problems.
37 Medical Anthropology: Leprosy on the Ganges [NEW]
Indians who contract leprosy find themselves stigmatized for life, causing them to delay treatment or amplify symptoms to
38 Public Interest Ethnography: Women’s Prisons and Health Care in California [NEW]
Student ethnographers uncover institutional health care problems at two women’s prisons in California and
suggest changes that result in a revision of state policy.
39 Using Anthropology
Professional anthropologists do everything from ethnographies of automobile production lines to famine relief,
but even the neophyte may be able to use the ideas of culture and ethnography to succeed in the workplace.
40 Career Advice for Anthropology Undergraduates
John T. Omohundro
The ability to translate useful anthropological skills into “resume speak” is one way for anthropology graduates
to find employment.