Popular Ethnography Books

27+ [Hand Picked] Popular Books On Ethnography

Discover the list of some best books written on Ethnography by popular award winning authors. These book on topic Ethnography highly popular among the readers worldwide.

3.3/5

On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City by Alice Goffman

Forty years in, the War on Drugs has done almost nothing to prevent drugs from being sold or used, but it has nonetheless created a little-known surveillance state in America’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Arrest quotas and high-tech surveillance techniques criminalize entire blocks, and transform the very associations that should stabilize young lives—family, relatio Forty years in, the War on Drugs has done almost nothing to prevent drugs from being sold or used, but it has nonetheless created a little-known surveillance state in America’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Arrest quotas and high-tech surveillance techniques criminalize entire blocks, and transform the very associations that should stabilize young lives—family, relationships, jobs—into liabilities, as the police use such relationships to track down suspects, demand information, and threaten consequences. Alice Goffman spent six years living in one such neighborhood in Philadelphia, and her close observations and often harrowing stories reveal the pernicious effects of this pervasive policing. Goffman introduces us to an unforgettable cast of young African American men who are caught up in this web of warrants and surveillance—some of them small-time drug dealers, others just ordinary guys dealing with limited choices. All find the web of presumed criminality, built as it is on the very associations and friendships that make up a life, nearly impossible to escape. We watch as the pleasures of summer-evening stoop-sitting are shattered by the arrival of a carful of cops looking to serve a warrant; we watch—and can’t help but be shocked—as teenagers teach their younger siblings and cousins how to run from the police (and, crucially, to keep away from friends and family so they can stay hidden); and we see, over and over, the relentless toll that the presumption of criminality takes on families—and futures. While not denying the problems of the drug trade, and the violence that often accompanies it, through her gripping accounts of daily life in the forgotten neighborhoods of America's cities, Goffman makes it impossible for us to ignore the very real human costs of our failed response—the blighting of entire neighborhoods, and the needless sacrifice of whole generations.  

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3.2/5

Life Beside Itself: Imagining Care in the Canadian Arctic by Lisa Stevenson

In Life Beside Itself, Lisa Stevenson takes us on a haunting ethnographic journey through two historical moments when life for the Canadian Inuit has hung in the balance: the tuberculosis epidemic (1940s to the early 1960s) and the subsequent suicide epidemic (1980s to the present). Along the way, Stevenson troubles our commonsense understanding of what life is and what it In Life Beside Itself, Lisa Stevenson takes us on a haunting ethnographic journey through two historical moments when life for the Canadian Inuit has hung in the balance: the tuberculosis epidemic (1940s to the early 1960s) and the subsequent suicide epidemic (1980s to the present). Along the way, Stevenson troubles our commonsense understanding of what life is and what it means to care for the life of another. Through close attention to the images in which we think and dream and through which we understand the world, Stevenson describes a world in which life is beside itself: the name-soul of a teenager who dies in a crash lives again in his friend’s newborn baby, a young girl shares a last smoke with a dead friend in a dream, and the possessed hands of a clock spin uncontrollably over its face. In these contexts, humanitarian policies make little sense because they attempt to save lives by merely keeping a body alive. For the Inuit, and perhaps for all of us, life is "somewhere else," and the task is to articulate forms of care for others that are adequate to that truth.

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4.8/5

Dealing in Desire: Asian Ascendancy, Western Decline, and the Hidden Currencies of Global Sex Work by Kimberly Kay Hoang

This captivating ethnography explores Vietnam’s sex industry as the country ascends the global and regional stage. Over the course of five years, author Kimberly Kay Hoang worked at four exclusive Saigon hostess bars catering to diverse clientele: wealthy local Vietnamese and Asian businessmen, Viet Kieus (ethnic Vietnamese living abroad), Western businessmen, and Western This captivating ethnography explores Vietnam’s sex industry as the country ascends the global and regional stage. Over the course of five years, author Kimberly Kay Hoang worked at four exclusive Saigon hostess bars catering to diverse clientele: wealthy local Vietnamese and Asian businessmen, Viet Kieus (ethnic Vietnamese living abroad), Western businessmen, and Western budget-tourists. Dealing in Desire takes an in-depth and often personal look at both the sex workers and their clients to show how Vietnamese high finance and benevolent giving are connected to the intimate spheres of the informal economy. For the domestic super-elite who use the levers of political power to channel foreign capital into real estate and manufacturing projects, conspicuous consumption is a means of projecting an image of Asian ascendancy to potential investors. For Viet Kieus and Westerners who bring remittances into the local economy, personal relationships with local sex workers reinforce their ideas of Asia’s rise and Western decline, while simultaneously bolstering their diminished masculinity. Dealing in Desire illuminates Ho Chi Minh City’s sex industry as not just a microcosm of the global economy, but a critical space where dreams and deals are traded.

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4.4/5

Witches of America by Alex Mar

"Witches are gathering." Although a self-proclaimed skeptic, Alex Mar has secretly longed for revelation, envying people with unshakable beliefs. And so when she set out to direct the documentary American Mystic, she was drawn deep into the world of present-day witchcraft. Most people hear "witches" and think of horror films and Halloween, but to the one million Americans w "Witches are gathering." Although a self-proclaimed skeptic, Alex Mar has secretly longed for revelation, envying people with unshakable beliefs. And so when she set out to direct the documentary American Mystic, she was drawn deep into the world of present-day witchcraft. Most people hear "witches" and think of horror films and Halloween, but to the one million Americans who practice Paganism, it's a nature-worshipping, polytheistic, and very real religion. Witches of America follows Mar on her trip into Paganism and the occult, from its roots in 1950s England to its current American mecca in the Bay Area; from a gathering of more than a thousand witches in the Illinois woods to the New Orleans branch of one of the world's most influential magical societies. She takes part in dozens of rituals, some vast and some intimate, alongside all sorts of people-single mothers, programmers, veterans, and one California priestess who becomes a close friend. This world gives Mar the freedom to confront what she believes is possible-or hopes might be. With the wit of Susan Orlean and the insight of Leslie Jamison, Mar provides a fresh, unexpected take on faith in America. Whether evangelical, pagan priestess, or atheist, each of us craves a system of meaning to give structure to our lives, and we sometimes find it in unexpected places. Witches of America asks the central question: Why do we choose to believe in anything at all?

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5/5

The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker by Katherine J. Cramer

Since the election of Scott Walker, Wisconsin has been seen as ground zero for debates about the appropriate role of government in the wake of the Great Recession. In a time of rising inequality, Walker not only survived a bitterly contested recall that brought thousands of protesters to Capitol Square, he was subsequently reelected. How could this happen? How is it that t Since the election of Scott Walker, Wisconsin has been seen as ground zero for debates about the appropriate role of government in the wake of the Great Recession. In a time of rising inequality, Walker not only survived a bitterly contested recall that brought thousands of protesters to Capitol Square, he was subsequently reelected. How could this happen? How is it that the very people who stand to benefit from strong government services not only vote against the candidates who support those services but are vehemently against the very idea of big government?             With The Politics of Resentment, Katherine J. Cramer uncovers an oft-overlooked piece of the puzzle: rural political consciousness and the resentment of the “liberal elite.” Rural voters are distrustful that politicians will respect the distinct values of their communities and allocate a fair share of resources. What can look like disagreements about basic political principles are therefore actually rooted in something even more fundamental: who we are as people and how closely a candidate’s social identity matches our own. Using Scott Walker and Wisconsin’s prominent and protracted debate about the appropriate role of government, Cramer illuminates the contours of rural consciousness, showing how place-based identities profoundly influence how people understand politics, regardless of whether urban politicians and their supporters really do shortchange or look down on those living in the country. The Politics of Resentment shows that rural resentment—no less than partisanship, race, or class—plays a major role in dividing America against itself.

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4.6/5

American Zoo: A Sociological Safari by David Grazian

Orangutans swing from Kevlar-lined fire hoses. Giraffes feast on celebratory birthday cakes topped with carrots instead of candles. Hi-tech dinosaur robots growl among steel trees, while owls watch animated cartoons on old television sets. In American Zoo, sociologist David Grazian takes us on a safari through the contemporary zoo, alive with its many contradictions and st Orangutans swing from Kevlar-lined fire hoses. Giraffes feast on celebratory birthday cakes topped with carrots instead of candles. Hi-tech dinosaur robots growl among steel trees, while owls watch animated cartoons on old television sets. In American Zoo, sociologist David Grazian takes us on a safari through the contemporary zoo, alive with its many contradictions and strange wonders. Trading in his tweed jacket for a zoo uniform and a pair of muddy work boots, Grazian introduces us to zookeepers and animal rights activists, parents and toddlers, and the other human primates that make up the zoo’s social world. He shows that in a major shift away from their unfortunate pasts, American zoos today emphasize naturalistic exhibits teeming with lush and immersive landscapes, breeding programs for endangered animals, and enrichment activities for their captive creatures. In doing so, zoos blur the imaginary boundaries we regularly use to separate culture from nature, humans from animals, and civilization from the wild. At the same time, zoos manage a wilderness of competing priorities—animal care, education, scientific research, and recreation—all while attempting to serve as centers for conservation in the wake of the current environmental and climate-change crisis. The world of the zoo reflects how we project our own prejudices and desires onto the animal kingdom, and invest nature with meaning and sentiment.A revealing portrayal of comic animals, delighted children, and feisty zookeepers, American Zoo is a remarkable close-up exploration of a classic cultural attraction.

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3.5/5

The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing

Matsutake is the most valuable mushroom in the world--and a weed that grows in human-disturbed forests across the northern hemisphere. Through its ability to nurture trees, matsutake helps forests to grow in daunting places. It is also an edible delicacy in Japan, where it sometimes commands astronomical prices. In all its contradictions, matsutake offers insights into are Matsutake is the most valuable mushroom in the world--and a weed that grows in human-disturbed forests across the northern hemisphere. Through its ability to nurture trees, matsutake helps forests to grow in daunting places. It is also an edible delicacy in Japan, where it sometimes commands astronomical prices. In all its contradictions, matsutake offers insights into areas far beyond just mushrooms and addresses a crucial question: what manages to live in the ruins we have made? A tale of diversity within our damaged landscapes, The Mushroom at the End of the World follows one of the strangest commodity chains of our times to explore the unexpected corners of capitalism. Here, we witness the varied and peculiar worlds of matsutake commerce: the worlds of Japanese gourmets, capitalist traders, Hmong jungle fighters, industrial forests, Yi Chinese goat herders, Finnish nature guides, and more. These companions also lead us into fungal ecologies and forest histories to better understand the promise of cohabitation in a time of massive human destruction. By investigating one of the world's most sought-after fungi, The Mushroom at the End of the World presents an original examination into the relation between capitalist destruction and collaborative survival within multispecies landscapes, the prerequisite for continuing life on earth.

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4.9/5

The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail by Jason De León , Michael Wells (Photographs)

In his gripping and provocative debut, anthropologist Jason De León sheds light on one of the most pressing political issues of our time—the human consequences of US immigration policy.  The Land of Open Graves reveals the suffering and deaths that occur daily in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona as thousands of undocumented migrants attempt to cross the border from Mexico int In his gripping and provocative debut, anthropologist Jason De León sheds light on one of the most pressing political issues of our time—the human consequences of US immigration policy.  The Land of Open Graves reveals the suffering and deaths that occur daily in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona as thousands of undocumented migrants attempt to cross the border from Mexico into the United States. Drawing on the four major fields of anthropology, De León uses an innovative combination of ethnography, archaeology, linguistics, and forensic science to produce a scathing critique of “Prevention through Deterrence,” the federal border enforcement policy that encourages migrants to cross in areas characterized by extreme environmental conditions and high risk of death. For two decades, this policy has failed to deter border crossers while successfully turning the rugged terrain of southern Arizona into a killing field. In harrowing detail, De León chronicles the journeys of people who have made dozens of attempts to cross the border and uncovers the stories of the objects and bodies left behind in the desert. The Land of Open Graves will spark debate and controversy.

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4.8/5

Making Refuge: Somali Bantu Refugees and Lewiston, Maine by Catherine Besteman

How do people whose entire way of life has been destroyed and who witnessed horrible abuses against loved ones construct a new future? How do people who have survived the ravages of war and displacement rebuild their lives in a new country when their world has totally changed? In Making Refuge Catherine Besteman follows the trajectory of Somali Bantus from their homes in S How do people whose entire way of life has been destroyed and who witnessed horrible abuses against loved ones construct a new future? How do people who have survived the ravages of war and displacement rebuild their lives in a new country when their world has totally changed? In Making Refuge Catherine Besteman follows the trajectory of Somali Bantus from their homes in Somalia before the onset in 1991 of Somalia’s civil war, to their displacement to Kenyan refugee camps, to their relocation in cities across the United States, to their settlement in the struggling former mill town of Lewiston, Maine. Tracking their experiences as "secondary migrants" who grapple with the struggles of xenophobia, neoliberalism, and grief, Besteman asks what humanitarianism feels like to those who are its objects and what happens when refugees move in next door. As Lewiston's refugees and locals negotiate coresidence and find that assimilation goes both ways, their story demonstrates the efforts of diverse people to find ways to live together and create community. Besteman’s account illuminates the contemporary debates about economic and moral responsibility, security, and community that immigration provokes. 

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3.5/5

Affluence Without Abundance: The Disappearing World of the Bushmen by James Suzman

A vibrant portrait of the original affluent society - the Bushmen of southern Africa - by the anthropologist who has spent the better part of the last twenty-five years documenting their encounter with modernity. If the success of a civilization is measured by its endurance over time, then the Bushmen of the Kalahari are by far the most successful in human history. A huntin A vibrant portrait of the original affluent society - the Bushmen of southern Africa - by the anthropologist who has spent the better part of the last twenty-five years documenting their encounter with modernity. If the success of a civilization is measured by its endurance over time, then the Bushmen of the Kalahari are by far the most successful in human history. A hunting and gathering people who made a good living by working only as much as needed to exist in harmony with their hostile desert environment, the Bushmen have lived in southern Africa since the evolution of our species nearly two hundred thousand years ago. In Affluence Without Abundance, anthropologist James Suzman asks whether understanding how hunter-gatherers like the Bushmen found contentment by having few needs easily met might help us address some of the environmental and economic challenges we face today. Vividly bringing to life a proud and private people, introducing unforgettable members of their tribe, Affluence Without Abundance tells the story of the collision between the modern global economy and the oldest hunting and gathering society on earth. In rendering an intimate picture of a people coping with radical change, it asks profound questions about how we now think about matters such as work, wealth, equality, contentment, and even time. Not since Elizabeth Marshall Thomas's The Harmless People in 1959 has anyone provided a more intimate or insightful account of the Bushmen or of what we might learn about ourselves from our shared history as hunter-gatherers.

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3.9/5

Renegade Dreams: Living through Injury in Gangland Chicago by Laurence Ralph

Every morning Chicagoans wake up to the same stark headlines that read like some macabre score: “13 shot, 4 dead overnight across the city,” and nearly every morning the same elision occurs: what of the nine other victims? As with war, much of our focus on inner-city violence is on the death toll, but the reality is that far more victims live to see another day and must co Every morning Chicagoans wake up to the same stark headlines that read like some macabre score: “13 shot, 4 dead overnight across the city,” and nearly every morning the same elision occurs: what of the nine other victims? As with war, much of our focus on inner-city violence is on the death toll, but the reality is that far more victims live to see another day and must cope with their injuries—both physical and psychological—for the rest of their lives. Renegade Dreams is their story. Walking the streets of one of Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods—where the local gang has been active for more than fifty years—Laurence Ralph talks with people whose lives are irrecoverably damaged, seeking to understand how they cope and how they can be better helped.             Going deep into a West Side neighborhood most Chicagoans only know from news reports—a place where children have been shot just for crossing the wrong street—Ralph unearths the fragile humanity that fights to stay alive there, to thrive, against all odds. He talks to mothers, grandmothers, and pastors, to activists and gang leaders, to the maimed and the hopeful, to aspiring rappers, athletes, or those who simply want safe passage to school or a steady job. Gangland Chicago, he shows, is as complicated as ever. It’s not just a warzone but a community, a place where people’s dreams are projected against the backdrop of unemployment, dilapidated housing, incarceration, addiction, and disease, the many hallmarks of urban poverty that harden like so many scars in their lives. Recounting their stories, he wrestles with what it means to be an outsider in a place like this, whether or not his attempt to understand, to help, might not in fact inflict its own damage. Ultimately he shows that the many injuries these people carry—like dreams—are a crucial form of resilience, and that we should all think about the ghetto differently, not as an abandoned island of unmitigated violence and its helpless victims but as a neighborhood, full of homes, as a part of the larger society in which we all live, together, among one another.

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3.2/5

Earth Beings: Ecologies of Practice across Andean Worlds by Marisol de la Cadena

Earth Beings is the fruit of Marisol de la Cadena's decade-long conversations with Mariano and Nazario Turpo, father and son, runakuna or Quechua people. Concerned with the mutual entanglements of indigenous and nonindigenous worlds, and the partial connections between them, de la Cadena presents how the Turpos' indigenous ways of knowing and being include and exceed moder Earth Beings is the fruit of Marisol de la Cadena's decade-long conversations with Mariano and Nazario Turpo, father and son, runakuna or Quechua people. Concerned with the mutual entanglements of indigenous and nonindigenous worlds, and the partial connections between them, de la Cadena presents how the Turpos' indigenous ways of knowing and being include and exceed modern and nonmodern practices. Her discussion of indigenous political strategies—a realm that need not abide by binary logics—reconfigures how to think about and question modern politics, while pushing her readers to think beyond "hybridity" and toward translation, communication that accepts incommensurability, and mutual difference as conditions for ethnography to work. 

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4.9/5

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman

Lia Lee was born in 1982 to a family of recent Hmong immigrants, and soon developed symptoms of epilepsy. By 1988 she was living at home but was brain dead after a tragic cycle of misunderstanding, over-medication, and culture clash: "What the doctors viewed as clinical efficiency the Hmong viewed as frosty arrogance." The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down is a tragedy Lia Lee was born in 1982 to a family of recent Hmong immigrants, and soon developed symptoms of epilepsy. By 1988 she was living at home but was brain dead after a tragic cycle of misunderstanding, over-medication, and culture clash: "What the doctors viewed as clinical efficiency the Hmong viewed as frosty arrogance." The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down is a tragedy of Shakespearean dimensions, written with the deepest of human feeling. Sherwin Nuland said of the account, "There are no villains in Fadiman's tale, just as there are no heroes. People are presented as she saw them, in their humility and their frailty—and their nobility.

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3.8/5

In Search of Respect by Philippe Bourgois

Philippe Bourgois's ethnographic study of social marginalization in inner-city America, won critical acclaim when it was first published in 1995. For the first time, an anthropologist had managed to gain the trust and long-term friendship of street-level drug dealers in one of the roughest ghetto neighborhoods--East Harlem. This new edition adds a prologue describing the m Philippe Bourgois's ethnographic study of social marginalization in inner-city America, won critical acclaim when it was first published in 1995. For the first time, an anthropologist had managed to gain the trust and long-term friendship of street-level drug dealers in one of the roughest ghetto neighborhoods--East Harlem. This new edition adds a prologue describing the major dynamics that have altered life on the streets of East Harlem in the seven years since the first edition. In a new epilogue Bourgois brings up to date the stories of the people--Primo, Caesat, Luis, Tony, Candy--who readers come to know in this remarkable window onto the world of the inner city drug trade. Philippe Bourgois is Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. He has conducted fieldwork in Central America on ethnicity and social unrest and is the author of Ethnicity at Work: Divided Labor on a Central American Banana Plantation (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989). He is writing a book on homeless heroin addicts in San Francisco. 1/e hb ISBN (1996) 0-521-43518-8 1/e pb ISBN (1996) 0-521-57460-9

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4.5/5

Death Without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil by Nancy Scheper-Hughes

When lives are dominated by hunger, what becomes of love? When assaulted by daily acts of violence and untimely death, what happens to trust? Set in the lands of Northeast Brazil, this is an account of the everyday experience of scarcity, sickness and death that centres on the lives of the women and children of a hillside "favela". Bringing her readers to the impoverished When lives are dominated by hunger, what becomes of love? When assaulted by daily acts of violence and untimely death, what happens to trust? Set in the lands of Northeast Brazil, this is an account of the everyday experience of scarcity, sickness and death that centres on the lives of the women and children of a hillside "favela". Bringing her readers to the impoverished slopes above the modern plantation town of Bom Jesus de Mata, where she has worked on and off for 25 years, Nancy Scheper-Hughes follows three generations of shantytown women as they struggle to survive through hard work, cunning and triage. It is a story of class relations told at the most basic level of bodies, emotions, desires and needs. Most disturbing – and controversial – is her finding that mother love, as conventionally understood, is something of a bourgeois myth, a luxury for those who can reasonably expect, as these women cannot, that their infants will live.

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3.4/5

Guests of the Sheik: An Ethnography of an Iraqi Village by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea

A delightful, well-written, and vastly informative ethnographic study, this is an account of Fernea's two-year stay in a tiny rural village in Iraq, where she assumed the dress and sheltered life of a harem woman.

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4.6/5

Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society (updated with a new preface) by Lila Abu-Lughod

Updated Edition With a New Preface Lila Abu-Lughod lived with a community of Bedouins in the Western Desert of Egypt for nearly two years, studying gender relations and the oral lyric poetry through which women and young men express personal feelings. The poems are haunting, the evocation of emotional life vivid. But her analysis also reveals how deeply implicated poetry an Updated Edition With a New Preface Lila Abu-Lughod lived with a community of Bedouins in the Western Desert of Egypt for nearly two years, studying gender relations and the oral lyric poetry through which women and young men express personal feelings. The poems are haunting, the evocation of emotional life vivid. But her analysis also reveals how deeply implicated poetry and sentiment are in the play of power and the maintenance of a system of social hierarchy. What begins as a puzzle about a single poetic genre becomes a reflection on the politics of sentiment and the relationship between ideology and human experience.

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4.6/5

Righteous Dopefiend by Philippe Bourgois , Jeffrey Schonberg

This powerful study immerses the reader in the world of homelessness and drug addiction in the contemporary United States. For over a decade Philippe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg followed a social network of two dozen heroin injectors and crack smokers on the streets of San Francisco, accompanying them as they scrambled to generate income through burglary, panhandling, recy This powerful study immerses the reader in the world of homelessness and drug addiction in the contemporary United States. For over a decade Philippe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg followed a social network of two dozen heroin injectors and crack smokers on the streets of San Francisco, accompanying them as they scrambled to generate income through burglary, panhandling, recycling, and day labor. Righteous Dopefiend interweaves stunning black-and-white photographs with vivid dialogue, detailed field notes, and critical theoretical analysis. Its gripping narrative develops a cast of characters around the themes of violence, race relations, sexuality, family trauma, embodied suffering, social inequality, and power relations. The result is a dispassionate chronicle of survival, loss, caring, and hope rooted in the addicts' determination to hang on for one more day and one more "fix" through a "moral economy of sharing" that precariously balances mutual solidarity and interpersonal betrayal.

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4.6/5

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

New York Times Bestseller From Harvard sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" Matthew Desmond, a landmark work of scholarship and reportage that will forever change the way we look at poverty in America   In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single m New York Times Bestseller From Harvard sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" Matthew Desmond, a landmark work of scholarship and reportage that will forever change the way we look at poverty in America   In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind. The fates of these families are in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former schoolteacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs one of the worst trailer parks in Milwaukee. They loathe some of their tenants and are fond of others, but as Sherrena puts it, “Love don’t pay the bills.” She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas. Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced  into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality—and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship. Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible. From the Hardcover edition.

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3.5/5

Argonauts of the Western Pacific by Bronisław Malinowski

The founding document of economic anthropology! Bronislaw Malinowski, one of the all-time great anthropologists of the world, had a talent for bringing together in single comprehension the warm reality of human living with the cool abstractions of science. His pages have become an almost indispensable link between the knowing of exotic and remote people with theoretical kn The founding document of economic anthropology! Bronislaw Malinowski, one of the all-time great anthropologists of the world, had a talent for bringing together in single comprehension the warm reality of human living with the cool abstractions of science. His pages have become an almost indispensable link between the knowing of exotic and remote people with theoretical knowledge about humankind. This volume--originally published in 1922--can be considered the founding document of economic anthropology, and remains the best one to read. It emphasizes the great significance of primitive economics by singling out the notable exchange system of the Trobriand Islands for special consideration. Although the main theme is economic, constant reference is made in this milestone of anthropological research and interpretation to social organization, life and meaning, the power of magic, and to mythology and folklore.

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4.3/5

Witchcraft, Oracles, and Magic Among the Azande by E.E. Evans-Pritchard

This acknowledged masterpiece has been abridged to make it more accessible to students. In her introduction, Eva Gillies presents the case for the relevance of the book to modern anthropologists.

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3.6/5

The Nuer by E.E. Evans-Pritchard

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3.3/5

Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman by Marjorie Shostak , Nisa

This classic paperback is available once again--and exclusively--from Harvard University Press. This book is the story of the life of Nisa, a member of the !Kung tribe of hunter-gatherers from southern Africa's Kalahari desert. Told in her own words--earthy, emotional, vivid--to Marjorie Shostak, a Harvard anthropologist who succeeded, with Nisa's collaboration, in breakin This classic paperback is available once again--and exclusively--from Harvard University Press. This book is the story of the life of Nisa, a member of the !Kung tribe of hunter-gatherers from southern Africa's Kalahari desert. Told in her own words--earthy, emotional, vivid--to Marjorie Shostak, a Harvard anthropologist who succeeded, with Nisa's collaboration, in breaking through the immense barriers of language and culture, the story is a fascinating view of a remarkable woman.

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4.5/5

The Forest People by Colin M. Turnbull

The bestselling, classic text on one anthropologist’s incredible experience living among the African Mbuti Pygmies, and what he learned from their culture, customs, and love of life. In this bestselling book, Colin Turnbull, a British cultural anthropologist, details the incredible Mbuti pygmy people and their love of the forest, and each other. Turnbull lived among the Mbu The bestselling, classic text on one anthropologist’s incredible experience living among the African Mbuti Pygmies, and what he learned from their culture, customs, and love of life. In this bestselling book, Colin Turnbull, a British cultural anthropologist, details the incredible Mbuti pygmy people and their love of the forest, and each other. Turnbull lived among the Mbuti people for three years as an observer, not a researcher, so he offers a charming and intimate firsthand account of the people and their culture, and especially the individuals and their personalities. The Forest People is a timeless work of academic and humanitarian significance, sure to delight readers as they take a trip into a foreign culture and learn to appreciate the joys of life through the eyes of the Mbuti people.

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5/5

On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City by Alice Goffman

Forty years in, the War on Drugs has done almost nothing to prevent drugs from being sold or used, but it has nonetheless created a little-known surveillance state in America’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Arrest quotas and high-tech surveillance techniques criminalize entire blocks, and transform the very associations that should stabilize young lives—family, relatio Forty years in, the War on Drugs has done almost nothing to prevent drugs from being sold or used, but it has nonetheless created a little-known surveillance state in America’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Arrest quotas and high-tech surveillance techniques criminalize entire blocks, and transform the very associations that should stabilize young lives—family, relationships, jobs—into liabilities, as the police use such relationships to track down suspects, demand information, and threaten consequences. Alice Goffman spent six years living in one such neighborhood in Philadelphia, and her close observations and often harrowing stories reveal the pernicious effects of this pervasive policing. Goffman introduces us to an unforgettable cast of young African American men who are caught up in this web of warrants and surveillance—some of them small-time drug dealers, others just ordinary guys dealing with limited choices. All find the web of presumed criminality, built as it is on the very associations and friendships that make up a life, nearly impossible to escape. We watch as the pleasures of summer-evening stoop-sitting are shattered by the arrival of a carful of cops looking to serve a warrant; we watch—and can’t help but be shocked—as teenagers teach their younger siblings and cousins how to run from the police (and, crucially, to keep away from friends and family so they can stay hidden); and we see, over and over, the relentless toll that the presumption of criminality takes on families—and futures. While not denying the problems of the drug trade, and the violence that often accompanies it, through her gripping accounts of daily life in the forgotten neighborhoods of America's cities, Goffman makes it impossible for us to ignore the very real human costs of our failed response—the blighting of entire neighborhoods, and the needless sacrifice of whole generations.  

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4.3/5

Sidewalk by Mitchell Duneier , Ovie Carter (Photographer) , Hakim Hasan (Foreword by)

An exceptional ethnography marked by clarity and candor, Sidewalk takes us into the socio-cultural environment of those who, though often seen as threatening or unseemly, work day after day on "the blocks" of one of New York's most diverse neighborhoods. Sociologist Duneier, author of Slim's Table, offers an accessible and compelling group portrait of several poor black me An exceptional ethnography marked by clarity and candor, Sidewalk takes us into the socio-cultural environment of those who, though often seen as threatening or unseemly, work day after day on "the blocks" of one of New York's most diverse neighborhoods. Sociologist Duneier, author of Slim's Table, offers an accessible and compelling group portrait of several poor black men who make their livelihoods on the sidewalks of Greenwich Village selling secondhand goods, panhandling, and scavenging books and magazines. Duneier spent five years with these individuals, and in Sidewalk he argues that, contrary to the opinion of various city officials, they actually contribute significantly to the order and well-being of the Village. An important study of the heart and mind of the street, Sidewalk also features an insightful afterword by longtime book vendor Hakim Hasan. This fascinating study reveals today's urban life in all its complexity: its vitality, its conflicts about class and race, and its surprising opportunities for empathy among strangers. Sidewalk is an excellent supplementary text for a range of courses: INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY: Shows how to make important links between micro and macro; how a research project works; how sociology can transform common sense. RACE AND ETHNIC RELATIONS: Untangles race, class, and gender as they work together on the street. URBAN STUDIES: Asks how public space is used and contested by men and women, blacks and whites, rich and poor, and how street life and political economy interact. DEVIANCE: Looks at labeling processes in treatment of the homeless; interrogates the "broken windows" theory of policing. LAW AND SOCIETY: Closely examines the connections between formal and informal systems of social control. METHODS: Shows how ethnography works; includes a detailed methodological appendix and an afterword by research subject Hakim Hasan. CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY: Sidewalk engages the rich terrain of recent developments regarding representation, writing, and authority; in the tradition of Elliot Liebow and Ulf Hannerz, it deals with age old problems of the social and cultural experience of inequality; this is a telling study of culture on the margins of American society. CULTURAL STUDIES: Breaking down disciplinary boundaries, Sidewalk shows how books and magazines are received and interpreted in discussions among working-class people on the sidewalk; it shows how cultural knowledge is deployed by vendors and scavengers to generate subsistence in public space. SOCIOLOGY OF CULTURE: Sidewalk demonstrates the connections between culture and human agency and innovation; it interrogates distinctions between legitimate subcultures and deviant collectivities; it illustrates conflicts over cultural diversity in public space; and, ultimately, it shows how conflicts over meaning are central to social life.

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5/5

Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive Youth for Western Civilisation by Margaret Mead , Mary Pipher (Introduction) , Mary Catherine Bateson (Introduction)

Rarely do science and literature come together in the same book.  When they do -- as in Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, for example -- they become classics, quoted and studied by scholars and the general public alike. Margaret Mead accomplished this remarkable feat not once but several times, beginning with Coming of Age in Samoa.   It details her historic journe Rarely do science and literature come together in the same book.  When they do -- as in Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, for example -- they become classics, quoted and studied by scholars and the general public alike. Margaret Mead accomplished this remarkable feat not once but several times, beginning with Coming of Age in Samoa.   It details her historic journey to American Samoa, taken where she was just twenty-three, where she did her first fieldwork.  Here, for the first time, she presented to the public the idea that the individual experience of developmental stages could be shaped by cultural demands and expectations.  Adolescence, she wrote, might be more or less stormy, and sexual development more or less problematic in different cultures.  The "civilized" world, she taught us had much to learn from the "primitive."  Now this groundbreaking, beautifully written work as been reissued for the centennial of her birth, featuring introductions by Mary Pipher and by Mead's daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson.

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