American Culture: Essays on the Familiar and Unfamiliar
By: Leonard Plotnicov (editor)Paperback
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These essays, culled from issues of the journal "Ethnology", depict familiar customs in daily American life and present them from the perspective of the exotic, Such familiar life episodes as the traditions of a family reunion, a county auction, a funeral and the nicknaming of friends are regarded here in new ways. The modern hospital operating room and its activities are compared to a religious ritual; communities of whalers and miners are seen as "natural laboratories" for studying the fundamental nature of human beings, specifically concerning discipline and punishment; and the American-Samoan funeral is viewed as a rite of ethnic solidarity. The spectrum of Americans examined here include the familiar - urbanites in Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, rural people in the American West, as well as the unfamiliar - Hispanics in Wisconsin, Samoans in California, and the utopian religious communities of the Shakers and Oneida. Their ocupations also range widely - from miners, whalers and factory workers, to ranchers, physicians and nurses.
Leonard Plotnicov was professor of anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh and editor of the journal Ethnology.
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