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!

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?

Jeremy Meeks mugshot

What does it mean to be a felon and also a pin-up guy? For some, Jeremy Meeks is attractive as a “bad boy,” while for others, he can’t be hot because he’s a criminal. Lindsey Feldman explores the problems with labels.

Kevin Yelvington at work in a Temecula winery, Califorina. Photo courtesy of Kevin.

Studying the wine industry seems like a sweet job. But anthropologist Kevin Yelvington went beyond wine tasting and worked alongside labourers in the vineyards. What did he discover?

The Rastafari Flag

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

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.

Walking differently but dreaming alike, by Ina Mar. Copyright Ina Mar and Anke-Maria Sander, ADAGP, Paris. The model, Anke-Maria Sander, 31 and mother of a beautiful 3-year old girl, has Friedreich's Ataxia, a degenerative, genetic, neuro-muscular disease, for which there is no cure. She uses a wheelchair since she was 15.

When mannequins modelled on people with disabilities were displayed in a Zurich store front, they caused shock–both to passers-by and the models themselves. But why should we react this way?

James Bond playing James Bond? Skyfall reflects upon its own past.

The ancient world left us mummies and pottery. Are James Bond films part of the cultural legacy we leave for future generations?

Camera sketch by ShakeHatThing, via DeviantArt.

In his previous two posts, copywriter McCreery asked “What is creativity?” and “How does it happen?” He now addresses creativity’s politics and perks through the lens of a Canon advertisement.

Couchsurfing in Ljubljana. Photo by Stephen Morgan via Shareable.net

Why would people let complete strangers stay at their houses, often leaving them with the keys and not charging them a penny? Couchsurfing teases us with the promise of a world based on kindness, trust, friendliness, and grilled sardines.

A strike in Portugal. Photo by Mauro Rodrigues.

What does Portugal look like to a local who has lived overseas? Pretty weird, it seems. Bureaucracy, temperament, and traffic behaviour are among the oddities observed in this article.

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.