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!

Urinators in India. Photos via basicshit.org: stop public urination, Flickr.

Public urination is a frequent and visible occurrence in many cities across India. Measures to prevent it have had mixed success. But what exactly is the harm?

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.

A protestor in Bogotá's 'El Bronx'. Photo by Steven Bunce

The dishevelled appearance of Bogotá’s most infamous drug market hides a clockwork-like order.

Save Haiti t-shirt: a nice idea, except that the road to development hell is often paved with good intentions.

According to one Catholic priest, foreigners in Haiti can be classified into three types: missionaries, mercenaries, and misfits. Whether you come to Haiti with good or bad intentions, the end result is often the same: trouble.

Farts can be sacred when you put your heart into it. By Bart Everson [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Around the world, farts incite hostility, laughter, and embarrassment. Why? Is it the foul odor, the explosive sounds, the suggestion of shit? A cross-cultural exploration of breaking wind.

Life imitating art? Reviewers bomb drone toy on Amazon

The average Amazon product review doesn’t include things like “You can’t spell slaughter without laughter!” But the Maisto drone toy has been targeted by review bombers seeking to end its production. How effective have they been?

Too much rope? Photo by Flickr user Traveller_40

When isn’t cooperating a cultural option? Tugs-of-war in Japan.

Football street art in Porto, Portugal. Photo by Wegmann, via Wikimedia Commons.

Brazilians and millions of people from around the world love the Jogo Bonito. How can they enjoy the games when they are now aware of their dark side?

Farid Mammadov's performance at Eurovision. Photo by Albin Olsson via Wikimedia.

Giant hamster wheels. Drag. Key changes, peasant costumes, and voting blocs. Sometimes it seems that the Eurovision Song Contest is about anything but the music. So what’s going on?

The Rastafari Flag

Smoking pot in the name of Jah might not actually that different to drinking wine for Jesus.