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Subject: Anthropology

How Sex Got Screwed Up: The Ghosts that Haunt Our Sexual Pleasure - Book One

From the Stone Age to the Enlightenment

Jon Knowles

September 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-361-3
Availability: In stock
1078pp. ¦ $81 £61 €69

The ghosts that haunt our sexual pleasure were born in the Stone Age. Sex and gender taboos were used by tribes to differentiate themselves from one another. These taboos filtered into the lives of Bronze and Iron Age men and women who lived in city-states and empires. For the early Christians, all sex play was turned into sin, instilled with guilt, and punished severely. With the invention of sin came the construction of women as subordinate beings to men. Despite the birth of romance in the late middle ages, Renaissance churches held inquisitions to seek out and destroy sex sinners, all of whom it saw as heretics. The Age of Reason saw the demise of these inquisitions. But, it was doctors who would take over the roles of priests and ministers as sex became defined by discourses of crime, degeneracy, and sickness. The middle of the 20th century saw these medical and religious teachings challenged for the first time as activists, such as Alfred Kinsey and Margaret Sanger, sought to carve out a place for sexual freedom in society. However, strong opposition to their beliefs and the growing exploitation of sex by the media at the close of the century would ultimately shape 21st century sexual ambivalence. Book One of this two-part publication traces the history of sex from the Stone Age to the Enlightenment. Interspersed with ‘personal hauntings’ from his own life and the lives of friends and relatives, Knowles reveals how historical discourses of sex continue to haunt us today. This book is a page-turner in simple and plain language about ‘how sex got screwed up’ for millennia. For Knowles, if we know the history of sex, we can get over it.

Messy Ethnographies in Action

Edited by Alexandra Plows, Bangor University

May 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-329-3
Availability: In stock
216pp. ¦ $59 £43 €48

This edited collection of chapters showcases original and interdisciplinary ethnographic fieldwork in a range of international settings; including studies of underground pub life in North East England; Finnish hotels; and bio-scientific institutions in the Amazonian rainforest. Informed by John Law’s concept of ethnographic “mess,” this book makes a unique, empirically-informed, contribution to an understanding of the social construction of knowledge and the role that ethnography can and does play (Law, 2004). It provides a range of colourful snapshots from the field, showing how different researchers from multiple research environments and disciplines are negotiating the practicalities, and epistemological and ethical implications, of “messy” ethnographic practice as a means of researching “messy” social realities. Law notes that “social…science investigations interfere with the world…things change as a result. The issue, then, is not to seek disengagement but rather with how to engage” (ibid p14). Drawing on their own situated experiences, the book’s contributors address the “messy” implications of this and also explore the (equally messy) issue of why engage. They reflect on the process of undertaking research, and their role in the research process as they negotiate their own position in the field. What is ethnography “for”? What impact should, or do, we have in the field and after we leave the research site? What about unintended consequences? When (if ever) are we “off duty?” What does “informed consent” mean in a constantly shifting, dynamic ethnographic context? Is ethnography by its very nature a form of “action research?” By providing a wide range of situated explorations of “messy ethnographies,” the book presents a unique, hands-on guide to the challenges of negotiating ethnography in practice, which will be of use to all researchers and practitioners who use ethnography as a method.

Fish in the Bible

Psychosocial Analysis of Contemporary Meanings, Values, and Effects of Christian Symbolism

Carmen M. Cusack, Nova Southeastern University

May 2017 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-201-2
Availability: In stock
134pp. ¦ $54 £44 €51

Fish in the Bible: Psychosocial Analysis of Contemporary Meanings, Values, and Effects of Christian Symbolism analyzes why and to what end tales and truths about fish presented in the Bible hold water in Christian societies today. Fish in the Bible argues that portraits of fish and fishermen presented in the Bible have been both embraced and rejected by contemporary cultures with primarily Christian constituents (e.g. American culture). This book does not make an ethical argument; rather, it explores manners in which Christians have selectively rejected or accepted depictions and symbols of fish and fishermen. It explores differences between Christian maxims presented in Bible verses and the beliefs and actions of societies operating under Christian moral majorities. Fish in the Bible also considers the evolution of symbolism and metaphors in Christian society using parables and tales found in the Bible. Fish in the Bible works on several specialized topics to argue that, overall, depictions of fish and fishermen in the Bible significantly and subtly shape Christian cultures even when Christians ignore or dismiss the robust ways in which fish and fishermen are characterized and treated in the Bible. Fish serve as a metaphor for God’s power, judgment, sin, and fertility; they are used to instill boundaries and standards in practitioners; and sometimes fish are worshiped, demonized, and subjugated. There is no clear or singular message regarding fish or fishermen; and Christian societies are left to abide by a patchwork of representations to formulate their own opinions and judgments. Social and behavioral science, as well as cultural customs, commerce, and current events demonstrate Christians’ navigation and interpretations of what their understandings and treatment of fish and fishermen ought to be. An Introduction and Conclusion summarize and synopsize implications raised by symbolism and literalism in certain contexts, stories, and verses demonstrating potentially pervasive significances of fish in Christian cultures throughout the world. The foundations of this research are law, social and behavioral science, policy and politics, history, cultural studies, religious studies, animal studies, animal welfare, criminal justice, sociology, anthropology, and current events.

The Common Good

An Introduction to Personalism

Edited by Steffen Boeskov, University of Liverpool and Leif E. Kristensen, Københavns Universitet

March 2017 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-192-3
Availability: In stock
172pp. ¦ $45 £35 €42

Our traditional ways of thinking about politics and society are becoming obsolete. We need some new points of reference in order to re-imagine the possible character, growth, and functioning of our private and common life. Such re-imagination would imply doing away with every-man-for-himself individualism as well as consumption-makes-me-happy materialism and the-state-will-take-care-of-it passivity. There is an alternative: Personalism is a forgotten, yet golden perspective on humanity that seeks to describe what a human being is and to then draw the social consequences. Personalism builds upon the thinking of Martin Buber and Emmanuel Levinas, among others, and has been a source of inspiration for Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu, and other important personalities in recent history. According to personalism, humans are relational and engaged and possess dignity. The person and the relationship amongst persons are the universal point of departure: Human beings have inherent dignity, and good relationships amongst humans are crucial for the good, engaged life and for a good society. Personalism has been greatly neglected in Western political thought. In this book, Jonas Norgaard Mortensen attempts to introduce personalism while simultaneously demonstrating its historical origins, acquainting the reader with its thinkers and those who have practiced it, and showing that personalism has a highly relevant contribution to make in the debate about today’s social and political developments.

The Rig-Vedic and Post-Rig-Vedic Polity (1500 BCE-500 BCE)

R.U.S. Prasad, Harvard University

August 2015 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-026-1
Availability: In stock
210pp. ¦ $50 £38 €44

The book critically examines and assesses the literary evidence available through Vedic and allied literature portraying the nature of Vedic polity, the functionalities of its various institutions, and the various social and religious practices. The book is not a narrative but critically examines the nature of changes in a host of these areas that occurred at each stage of Vedic polity from early Vedic period to post Ṛig-Vedic period. It outlines in historical perspective the various stages involved in the development of Vedic polity and Vedic canon and how the two processes have gone along together. It contains extensive discussions on political system and institutions, religious and social practices as they obtained during the Rig-Vedic and post Rig-Vedic periods. It provides a fresh approach to the cult of sacrifice and fire rituals practiced by Vedic Aryans along with an in-depth analysis of the Vedic view of Nationalism, Sovereignty and State as discernible from Vedic texts .The book also features an extensive discussion on the institution of kingship, administrative machinery, role of various entities in the polity including the Purohita, the Sabha and the Samiti, position of women, Varna system and features of tribal kingdoms, such as the Kuru-Panchalas and Kosala-Videhas. Isolating political and social aspects from the essentially religious character of Vedic literature, an attempt has been made to show with due corroboration that the tribal polity was not deficient in political content contrary to the stance of some scholars to depict Vedic Aryans as apolitical and inward looking. The present book partakes both the current and previous scholarship on the subject but breaks a new path with its exclusive focus on the Rig-Vedic and Post Rig-Vedic polity, together with a balanced and objective assessment of their features. It brings all the relevant and connected issues on to one platform, and deals with them in a holistic manner. Its unique features include: • The “Vedic Grid”: a graphical representation and tabulations of the characteristics of each of the about 50 Vedic tribes, including information on the location of their habitat, their time line, the names of their chieftains and their linkage with priestly clans. • A special focus on the Second Urbanization taking place in the Gangetic valley between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. It explains how towards the end of the later Vedic period, the polity underwent a change in political, social and economic spheres which blossomed later during the period of Mauryas. • Two appendices dealing with the theories of Aryan migration and the relationship of the Vedic Aryans with the Harappa culture and what can be ascertained by Vedic literature.

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