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?

Human sperm

Natural selection’s coming to get you, and it’s not just because of what’s in your genes!

Changing attitudes or just a practical measure? Unisex toilets are becoming more common in many countries

Gender has become such a mainstream word that in some contexts it has become a misplaced substitute for sex. It as if people feel that it is no longer safe or politically correct to say the word sex. So what is the difference between sex and gender?

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.

A symbol of a bigger society: the Papua New Guinea flag

In 1925, Marcel Mauss observed that market-based morality would undermine itself if it led to a widespread loss of faith in the idea that markets are compatible with fairness and solidarity. Was he right?

Logo for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi

As the Winter Olympics in Sochi have shown, mega-events involve mega-politics and a lot of myth-making. What did they reveal about the nature of the Russian self?

Thieves Beware! Photo by Luke Bennett

Metal theft costs the public sector a fortune, yet the thieves gain virtually nothing. Why do they steal?

Urumqi: Capital city of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. Photo by Sophia Slavich, taken June 2013.

What would you associate naan bread, headscarves, mosques and desert bazaars with? Meet the Uyghurs, ten million Turkic Muslims living on China’s western periphery.