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!

A Naira in her natural environment. Photo by Celia Emmelhainz, Kazakhstan, February 2012.

Cultural groups are diverse. Yet one group that has not been studied in all its diversity is the Nairarbi, an information-working caste scattered through many societies in the modern world.

A dog all rugged up for cold weather. Photo by 玄史生, via Wikimedia Commons.

Love dogs? In Vancouver, you may have little choice. In this canine-crazy city, pooch parlours reign supreme, dogs slobber over food in supermarkets, and they are even allowed in the doctor’s surgery. It’s not just a matter of personal preference, it’s a culture.

"Wheelchair on the Beach" by kris krüg via Flickr.

Why is it that disabilities, or how we react to them socially, are seldom mentioned in day-to-day conversations? Kastner explores studies of disability by anthropologist Joan Ablon.

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?

Protest against Monsanto in Nepal. Photo by Sascha Fuller

Food production is a way of life in Nepal. The right to decide upon, own and control the seed supply is therefore of utmost importance, reflected in widescale protests against Monsanto’s arrival.

It's all the fault of Thomas Cook, who invented the guided tour in 1841. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

As recently as the 1980s, the cicerone was alive and well in England. Versions of this tour guide survive around the world. What are their shared traits, and why are they so insistent that us tourists will shower them with wealth?

Coffee with an emotional connection. Photo by Ashleee (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

The Well Coffeehouse is turning coffee into “living water” by donating profits to build wells. The customers are the congregation, and the register is the donation-basket. But is it making consumption meaningful?

Christmas Gifts

Don’t bother feeling guilty, your mass consumption at Christmas is part of what makes you a moral person. Why greed is good for humanity in all times and places.

Dracula! By Screenshot from "Internet Archive" of the movie Dracula (1958) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Vampires are sexy and glittery today, but they used to be terrifying. Archaeology can reveal the roots of vampirism, and the true fear of the dead returning.

Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft at Ta Prohm. Still from the film Tomb Raider.

What have you seen? And did you actually see it? At Angkor Wat, Cambodia, tourists recreate the imaginary worlds of Tomb Raider and Temple Run. But archaeology reveals that an ancient, intriguing history likes behind these ruinous stones.

The author learning to dance in Cape Verde

When should we look beyond culture to explain behaviour? The abuses of culture in relation to Cape Verdean migrants in Portugal.