Anthropology and Contemporary Human Problems

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  • Edition: 6th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-04-12
  • Publisher: Altamira Pr
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We live in a time of global mega-problems of unsustainable growth and consumption, resource depletion, ecosystem degradation, global warming, escalating energy costs, poverty, and conflict. Cultural anthropologist John H. Bodley trenchantly critiques these most pressing issues and shows how anthropology makes it possible to find solutions. The focus on culture scale suggests that many solutions may be found by developing local communities supported by regional markets and ecosystems, rather than by making the continuous accumulation of financial capital the dominant cultural process throughout the world.Now in its sixth edition, this classic textbook continues to have tremendous relevance and is more timely than ever in light of the recent global economic crisis. It exposes readers to the problems of a world out of balance with misdirected growth by the elite. Bodley offers examples from prehistoric and modern tribal societies along side of ancient imperial and contemporary commercial societies. Students will find this to be the trusted source to build a world view. Anthropology and Contemporary Human Problems is ideal for adoption in anthropology and sociology courses on globalization, cultural ecology, social class and inequality, the environment, sustainability, and development.

Author Biography

John H. Bodley is Regents Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Washington State University. He is the author of Cultural Anthropology, 5th edition (AltaMira Press, 2011), and Victims of Progress, 5th edition (AltaMira Press, 2008).

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tablesp. xi
Prefacep. xv
Acknowledgmentsp. xix
Anthro pological Perspectives on Contemporary Human Problemsp. 1
Nature and Scope of the Problemsp. 3
World Scientists' Warning to Humanity, 1992p. 6
UN Millennium Goalsp. 7
Crisis Awareness and Responsep. 9
Significance of Culture Scalep. 11
Uniqueness of Tribal Societies and Culturesp. 13
"Original Affluent Society"p. 16
Elite-Directed Growth: The Human Problemp. 17
Distribution of Wealth and Powerp. 18
The World's Elite-Directors: View from the Topp. 21
Elite-Direction and the Global Media: Rupert Murdoch's News Corporationp. 22
Too Big and Failing: Elite-Direction and the Global Financial Crisisp. 26
Scale, Adaptation, and the Environmental Crisisp. 35
Cultural Transmission and Maladaptationp. 36
Scale and Cultural Evolutionp. 37
Cultural Evolution and Adaptationp. 39
Nature and Scope of the Environmental Crisisp. 42
Biodiversity and the Death of the Tropical Rain Forestsp. 43
Ecocide, Soviet Stylep. 47
Environmental Crisis and Cultural Changep. 51
Beyond "The Limits to Growth"p. 52
Environmental Commissions: Global 2000 and Our Common Futurep. 56
Roots of the Environmental Crisisp. 58
Capitalism and Ideological Rootsp. 60
Unregulated Self-Interest and the Tragedy of the Commonsp. 62
Land Degradation in the Mediterranean Regionp. 64
Planetary Boundaries: Beyond the Earth's Limits in the Anthropocenep. 66
Extinctions and Biodiversity: Human Nature or Culture Scale Crisis?p. 70
Tribal and Small-Scale Domestic Economiesp. 75
Wealth in Tribal and Commercial Worldsp. 78
Biological Potential and Cultural Demand in the Pacific Northwestp. 81
Sociocultural Scale and the Environmentp. 82
Sociological Footprintsp. 85
Natural Resources and the Culture of Consumptionp. 103
Energy and Culture: Basic Considerationsp. 103
Elite-Directors of the Energy Sector: The Power and Influence of Big Oilp. 111
Capitalism and the Culture of Consumptionp. 117
History of Capitalismp. 119
European Origins of Capitalismp. 119
Culture of Overconsumptionp. 122
Resource Consumption in Americap. 127
Taking Stockp. 128
America's Forests as Resourcesp. 130
Economics of Resource Depletionp. 133
Sustainable Development and the Steady-State Economyp. 134
Consumption Culture's Environmental Cost: Western Coalp. 136
Elite Decision Makers and the Consumption Culturep. 138
Malnutrition and the Evolution of Food Systemsp. 147
Malthusian Dilemmap. 148
Evolution of Food Systemsp. 150
Foraging and Subsistence Securityp. 151
Shift to Farms and Gardensp. 153
Domestic Mode of Food Productionp. 153
Technological Advances in Food Productionp. 155
Politically Directed Food Systemsp. 157
Commercialization of Grain: England, 1500-1700p. 158
Famine in the Modern Worldp. 160
Global Malnutritionp. 161
Persistence of Food Insecurityp. 162
Global Food Price Crisis of 2007-2008: Hunger and Land Grabsp. 164
Food Overconsumptionp. 168
Political Economy of Hunger: Bangladeshp. 169
Commercial Factory-Food Systemsp. 179
Factory-Food Productionp. 180
Factory Potatoes versus Swidden Sweet Potatoesp. 184
Commercialization of the American Food System, 1850-1890p. 185
Social Costs of the Food-Production Systemp. 186
Energy Costs of the Distribution Systemp. 190
Food Marketingp. 192
Food Quality and Market Scalep. 196
Factory-Processed Potato Chips versus Manioc Cakesp. 196
Fishing, Global Trade, and "Ghost Acres"p. 198
Limits of Food Productionp. 201
Food Chain Clusters: ABCD Four and the Great Turkey Recallp. 203
Population Problemp. 215
Maximum Global Population Estimatesp. 218
Great Waves of Population Growthp. 220
Population Pressure, Carrying Capacity, and Optimum Populationp. 222
Population Control among Foragersp. 224
Population Equilibrium in Aboriginal Australiap. 227
Neolithic Population Explosionp. 229
Population Control among Tribal Village Farmersp. 231
Island Population Problemsp. 233
Case of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) "Collapse"p. 235
State Intervention and Population-Control Mechanismsp. 236
Policy Implicationsp. 237
Poverty and Conflictp. 243
Violence and Insecurity in Americap. 245
Social Order in the Tribal Worldp. 247
Importance of Social Equalityp. 249
Conflict and Conflict Resolutionp. 251
Leadershipp. 252
Internal Order in Political Centralized Societiesp. 253
Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Warp. 255
Scale of War and Violence in the Imperial and Commercial Worldsp. 258
Fiscal-Military State and Military-Industrial Complexesp. 259
Deadly Arsenals: The Nuclear Weapons Threatp. 261
Failing States and Social Disorderp. 262
Roots of the Security Crisis: Culture, Overpopulation, or Inequality?p. 264
Financialization Process and the Debt Crisisp. 265
Export Sugar, Starvation, and Infant Morality in Brazilp. 268
State Terrorism and Investment Risk in Guatemalap. 271
Opulence and Deindustrialization in Americap. 274
Los Angeles's Informal Economy: The Costs of American Poverty and Homelessnessp. 278
The Futurep. 289
Dilemma of Scalep. 290
Imagining the Global Futurep. 293
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Emissions Scenariosp. 294
American Intelligence Community Futuresp. 296
Global Trends 2025: An American View of a Transformed Worldp. 298
Shell Oil's Perspective on the Futurep. 300
Shell Oil's 2050 Scenario: Emissions-Trading Blueprintsp. 301
Zero Carbon Britain 2030p. 304
Bolivia: A Plurinational Communitary State Solving Human Problemsp. 305
Sustainable Global Futuresp. 313
TERRA-2000 and Information Societyp. 313
UN Global Environment Outlook 3 Global Futuresp. 316
The Great Transition Initiativep. 316
Transforming the Corporationp. 318
Mondragón Cooperativesp. 319
Bhutan's Middle Pathp. 320
Toward a Sustainable Planetary Societyp. 323
Scaling Down: The Small Nations Alternativep. 323
The United States, Happy Planets, and Billionairesp. 325
Transforming Americap. 329
Glossaryp. 341
Bibliographyp. 359
Indexp. 395
About the Authorp. 411
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