By Laura Pountney and Tomislav Marić
In 2015, the first edition of Introducing Anthropology was published after many years of research, teaching and writing. Both authors were involved with establishing the A level in Anthropology and promoting the subject to a wider audience. Part of the process of writing the first and second edition was to reflect the continuing appeal and richness of anthropology, based on our experiences of teaching the subject to pre-university students. The second edition, released in 2021 builds upon the successes of the first. In particular, providing examples of ethnographic research at a level that is understandable for those learning about the subject for the first time. The aim of the book is not to fix accounts of ethnographies, rather, the emphasis is on allowing students to explore, discuss and consider the implications of the research so that its meanings can be interpreted in a number of different ways. We have kept and updated many of the other features that worked well for students and teachers, including discussion points, globalisation and theoretical links, key concepts and further reading and film recommendations.
The last few years have been eventful and much has changed in the world. We wanted to reflect these changes in our second edition. We have placed environmental issues at the heart of the book, with a focus on the changing environment and its’ particular and complex effects on indigenous and non-indigenous groups. Another key area of change for us was to acknowledge changes in academic discourses surrounding gender. We are pleased that this second edition addresses those. There have also been changes within the discipline, such as the shift to understanding the Anthropocene, or human impacts upon our environment. Again, this theme runs throughout the book.
In the first chapter, we consider the ever-emerging findings about our human ancestors, as well as advances in genetic information that now shapes many investigations into human evolution. Indeed, even as the book went into production, discoveries were emerging – something we learnt from the first edition!
One thing we both felt strongly about as authors was the need to discuss cultural difference in a sensitive and nuanced way, something we believe makes anthropology the fascinating subject it is, so the second volume includes up to date issues concerning different kinship patterns, rituals and beliefs that make up the rich array of cultural practices around the world. These are written in a language that is both accessible and thought provoking.
The second edition has a developed applied anthropology focus from leading anthropologists in the field, doing cutting edge research into familiar and new areas of interest. As well as this there are interview extracts from our discussions with anthropologist working beyond anthropology explaining the wide range of work that is possible after a degree level training in the subject.
We received overwhelming support from academics, the Royal Anthropological Institute as well as the American Anthropological Association who are all keen for a wider audience to enjoy the richness of anthropology. We enjoyed incorporating feedback from students, teachers and universities and the rigorous review process with a range of specialists in each topic. Something we are most proud of in our second edition is that we hope our language has been updated to avoid any culturally specific assumptions that we often write about; we have attempted to avoid making assumptions based on gender, nationality or global position.
We hope you enjoy the book and we are always grateful to hear what you think about it, so do please get in contact.
Laura Pountney firstname.lastname@example.org
Tomislav Marić TMaric@bentleywood.harrow.sch.uk
*Free inspection copies are available to full time teachers teaching classes of over 12 students for whom the book may be appropriate as a core text. You can order an e-inspection copy via www.politybooks.com. If you prefer to receive a physical copy, please email email@example.com
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