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IN/EQUALITY: An Alternative Anthropology
Fifth Edition
Pem Davidson Buck
ISBN: 978-1-56226-697-4

IN/EQUALITY: An Alternative Anthropology 5th Edition continues to be thoroughly rigorous, yet thoroughly accessible, a real alternative to mainstream texts. Written from a critical political economy perspective, In/Equality encourages students to question the status quo and to examine the ways in which social justice issues and social structure are interconnected. Responding to the immediacy of the ongoing entwined crises surrounding the global pandemic and racial injustice confronting the US and the world, the fifth edition has been updated to provide a thorough analysis of these topics and addresses a wide range of current critical issues including mass incarceration, climate change, MeToo, the struggles for Indigenous sovereignty and for immigrant and undocumented rights, with expanded treatment of white supremacy interwoven, including discussion of settler colonialism. The text is designed to provide a framework of underlying principles and concepts to accompany ethnographies, films, and articles.

What Professors are saying about IN/EQUALITY: An Alternative Anthropology

Pem Davidson Buck is one of the most engaging writers in progressive anthropology today. Her book IN/EQUALITY: An Alternative Anthropology is among the few introductory texts to directly address the negative effects of privilege and inequality on exploiters as well as exploited people and cultures. Buck exposes the insidious consequences of globalization and the inevitable result, oppression, in clear and explanatory language that leads students to awareness of how their inculcation in US culture and values has twisted and deformed their understanding of ‘how the world works.’ Buck does not exempt her own discipline from the scrutiny of its internalized myths. Gently, and with compassion, she examines and debunks the notion of “scholarly privilege,” in favor of an inclusive anthropology that engages researchers as students of culture—first and foremost, of their own Westernized culture. IN/EQUALITY is ideologically challenging, yet approachable for undergraduate students. It is written in clear and explanatory language that moves the discipline beyond Decolonized Anthropology, to Activist Anthropology. By presenting case studies within familiar contexts like working at McDonald’s, Buck offers the opportunity for students to reexamine their own assumptions and perspectives through an informed and critical lens. The book’s format includes definitions in the sidebars, a user-friendly feature that streamlines the student’s reading experience. I consider IN/EQUALITY an essential text for Introductory Anthropology courses. Many upper-level students would also benefit from Professor Buck’s clear and logical analysis of culture. In a world that is ever more entwined and interdependent, this work can serve as a model for the anthropology of the future.

Warren Perry,
Central Connecticut State University

IN/EQUALITY is one of the most accessible introductory textbooks that I’ve ever read. Its conversational tone welcomes curious readers, inviting us to participate in a down-to-earth conversation about a field of study that’s often stereotyped to be mainly about far-away times, places, and peoples situated beyond the boundaries of the modern world. Pem Davidson Buck convinces us otherwise. She conveys the spirit of anthropological concepts and not just the definitional reductionism of so many textbooks. Her wisdom as a teacher and scholar come from many years of engaging diverse students in a community college. She knows how to facilitate a learning experience that resonates with students’ everyday lives. She cuts to the chase and effectively shows how anthropology is relevant to acquiring basic cultural literacy about the past and present world. That kind of awareness is necessary for informed local and global citizenship.

Faye V. Harrison
Professor of Anthropology and African American Studies
University of Florida

Buck is clear, direct, and homes in on the essentials of our inequitable world. It is a fine challenge to the state of things as they are, which is one of the things anthropology can offer.

Don Conway-Long
Webster University

“...a down to earth exposition of questions, definitions, and perspectives that challenges the status quo—or what [Buck] calls ‘learned ignorance’—while offering students a model to do the same….an audacious disruption of seemingly benign presentations of ever-growing lists of terms, concepts, and definitions in introductory cultural anthropology courses,”

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Transforming Anthropology

Antoinette Jackson, Transforming Anthropology

“IN/EQUALITY: An Alternative Anthropology is short and inexpensive, and does not chop-up "culture" into various segments (i.e., "Religion", "Art", "Economics", etc.) like the traditional textbooks. Instead, the book uses anthropology as a way to critique dominant epistemes that produce, reproduce, and naturalize systems of unequal power relations.”

G. Derrick Hodge
University of Kansas

I have used In/Equality: An Alternative Anthropology in an introductory Anthropology course I teach here at Vancouver Island University since the first edition that came out in 2009. Critical, interdisciplinary, and well written, it remains a favorite of mine, as close to perfect as a textbook can be.

David Aliaga , Professor Vancouver Island University

On-going Features of IN/EQUALITY Fifth Edition:

• Helps students develop a cultural understanding and a sense of global citizenship as they compare their own social systems against those in the rest of the United States and the world.

• Develops the framework needed to understand a social justice perspective.

• Moves quickly through the study of varieties of non-state human social organization, allowing a greater focus on ethnography and analysis of contemporary social structures, while nevertheless providing students with the basic understanding that stratification is not an inevitable result of human nature.

• Introduces colonialism, neocolonialism, globalization, and empire in early chapters, laying foundations early for deeper ensuing conversations and returning to globalization in a later discussion of the return of empire.

• Provides extensive discussions of class, race and racialization.

• Devotes a chapter to discussing how stratification is maintained.

• Introduces gender issues in a variety of contexts with one comprehensive chapter on gender issues in egalitarian and non-egalitarian societies, then returns to gender while introducing patriarchal ideology in a later chapter.

• References current national and international events.

• References recent research on the social and economic consequences of inequality and an analysis of imprisonment in the United States.

• Discusses resisting global empire with an emphasis on the growing interest in developing alternative 'post-capitalist' community economies.

• Includes margin notes with definitions for terms that may be new to the student. (In the 4th edition these are joined in the margin by links to online resources.)

• Includes a student-friendly glossary, providing extended definitions for terms that may be new to the student.

Custom publishing options allow the professor to adopt the text as-is OR select individual chapters and reorder to follow your syllabus.

• Customize this text by selecting individual chapters arranged in the order you choose. Except for the first chapter, the remaining chapters are written so they can be taught in any order. Or select a few chapters you want to use in your own customized supplement. For more information about custom options for this text, please click here or call us at 530-549-4744.

Ordering Information: To order IN/EQUALITY 5th edition for use in your classes contact your bookstore and request ISBN: 978-1-56226-697-4.

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