The Origin of Cultures: How Individual Choices Make Cultures Change

1st Edition

W Penn Handwerker

Routledge
Published September 15, 2009
Reference - 156 Pages
ISBN 9781598740684 - CAT# Y287709
Series: Key Questions in Anthropology

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Summary

What makes a 17-year-old girl decide to wrap a bomb around her body, walk into a supermarket, and detonate it, killing herself and an 18-year old girl shopping there? In this provocative and important book, renowned anthropologist W. Penn Handwerker shows that individual choices, from the fatal to the mundane, are fundamentally questions of culture—what it is, where it comes from, and the complex ways it changes and evolves. In accessible and engaging prose, he walks readers through the process of how the human imagination produces new things, shaped by culture and experience but also constantly evolving in unpredictable ways. He shows how understanding cultural dynamics, which explain one girl’s decision to murder and another girl’s decision to shop, will help us address critical policy questions, from reducing the likelihood of terrorist attacks to responding to global epidemics and addressing climate change.

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