Popular anthropology for everyone. Exploring the familiar and the strange, demystifying and myth busting human culture, biology and behaviour in all times and places. Myths, music, art, archaeology, language, food, festivals, fun.


Welcome to the anthropocene!

Jack Kerouac Adler signpost, San Francisco, California. Photo by Dominic Simpson, via Wikimedia Commons.

While the Beat Generation’s influence has waned with time, in Brazil there has been a resurgence of interest in this group of misfits and their values.
Why Brazil, and why now?

Stamp out Racism graffiti, Eblana Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Auigust 2010. Image by Ardfern, via Wikimedia

Tumblr is an interesting place to observe social justice in action. It hosts networks of anti-racist bloggers who resist the everyday racisms they experience. But some people view this anti-racism as inauthentic. Why?

Alexandra administers a wildlife identification test in Kenya. Photo courtesy of Alexandra Sutton.

Kedge Conservation run business training programs in Africa with a view to helping humans and other animals live together. Celia Emmelhainz interviews scientist and founder Alexandra Sutton.

It's a fine line between criminal and saviour. James Dean as Han Solo, by Rabittooth via DeviantArt.

Once a criminal, not always a criminal–but it can be hard to convince society otherwise. Does the “bad boy” stereotype give men an advantage?

The author as a hippie. Copyright held by Ted Polhemus.

Thanks to the Baby Boomers, fashion markets today are youth-obsessed. But are the youth really still where it’s at? Do they resent being labelled “youth”? Maybe it’s time to re-think our marketing–and our understanding of society.

Ghost bike

Roadside memorials for traffic accident deaths are more important than graves to the bereaved. How public grieving is taking over NYC.

A Young Man and a Lady, by Konstantin Somov (1916). Source: Wikimedia Commons (2011). Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Cougars – women who date younger men – became a media phenomenon in the 2000s. However, mainstream media’s discussion of them was largely based on myth. Here are some historical facts about age difference in couples.

By Ville Miettinen from Helsinki, Finland (Sex, Drugs & Dungeons & Dragons) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Are we really the hero in our own lives? Nick Mizer, an anthropologist who researches gaming and storytelling, argues that our narratives about our lives may not be so different from those in our games.

Faces, by Mollus via DeviantArt.

Bodily experiences and emotions are hard to capture in research methods that rely on models, questionnaires, and statistics. How can researchers record feelings?

Japanese salaryman. Photo by James Justin

What does wellbeing mean to you? In Japan, it’s increasingly defined by the individual, not by society.

The useful art of sorting knowledge: Dewey's original divisions. Photo by Celia Emmelhainz.

Ever suspected that libraries simply assign random numbers to books? The bizarre history behind the Dewey Decimal System and how librarians cope with new fields of knowledge.

A human castle in Tarragona. Photo by Elizabeth Challinor

There’s nothing like an everyday object to shine a spotlight on human cooperation-or lack thereof. A toilet brush and a human castle materialize our expectations of other human beings.