Books by members

These are some of the books that have been published by our members. If your book was written in 2005 or later and you would like it publicized on the website, please send us an email.

Books published since 2010Books published 2005-2010Books published before 2005

Books published since 2010

Swift, Candice Lowe and Wilk, Richard, editors. 2015.  Teaching Food and Culture. Left Coast Press. 

A collection of essays from social scientists successfully teaching with and about food, both in and out of the classroom.  It should be of interest to anyone concerned with public debates around food and foodways, nutrition, and public health.  We hope it will be useful for teachers who are thinking about creating a course on food to meet high student interest in the topic. 

Peterson, Kristin. 2014. Speculative Markets: Drug Circuits and Derivative Life in Nigeria. Durham: Duke University Press. 

In this unprecedented account of the dynamics of Nigeria’s pharmaceutical markets, Kristin Peterson connects multinational drug company policies, oil concerns, Nigerian political and economic transitions, the circulation of pharmaceuticals in the Global South, Wall Street machinations, and the needs and aspirations of individual Nigerians. Studying the pharmaceutical market in Lagos, Nigeria, she places local market social norms and credit and pricing practices in the broader context of regional, transnational, and global financial capital. Peterson explains how a significant and formerly profitable African pharmaceutical market collapsed in the face of U.S. monetary policies and neoliberal economic reforms, and she illuminates the relation between that collapse and the American turn to speculative capital during the 1980s. In the process, she reveals the mutual constitution of financial speculation in the drug industry and the structural adjustment plans that the IMF imposed on African nations. Her book is a sobering ethnographic analysis of the effects of speculation and “development” as they reverberate across markets and continents, and play out in everyday interpersonal transactions of the Lagos pharmaceutical market.


Karen Tranberg Hansen, Walter E. Little, and B. Lynne Milgram, editors. 2013 Street Economies in the Urban Global South

This book focuses on the economic, political, social, and cultural dynamics of street economies across the urban Global South. Although contestations over public space have a long history, Street Economies in the Urban Global South presents the argument that the recent conjuncture of neoliberal economic policies and unprecedented urban growth in the Global South has changed the equation. The detailed ethnographic accounts from postsocialist Vietnam to a struggling democracy in the Philippines, from the former command economies in Africa to previously authoritarian regimes in Latin America, focus on the experiences of often marginalized street workers who describe their projects and plans. The contributors to Street Economies in the Urban Global South highlight individual and collective resistance by street vendors to overcome numerous processes that exacerbate the marginality and disempowerment of street economy work. 


Little, Peter C. 2014. Toxic Town: IBM, Pollution, and Industrial Risks.

In 1924, IBM built its first plant in Endicott, New York. Now, Endicott is a contested toxic waste site. With its landscape thoroughly contaminated by carcinogens, Endicott is the subject of one of the nation’s largest corporate-state mitigation efforts. Yet despite the efforts of IBM and the U.S. government, Endicott residents remain skeptical that the mitigation systems employed were designed with their best interests at heart. In Toxic Town, Peter C. Little tracks and critically diagnoses the experiences of Endicott residents as they learn to live with high-tech pollution, community transformation, scientific expertise, corporate-state power, and risk mitigation technologies. By weaving together the insights of anthropology, political ecology, disaster studies, and science and technology studies, the book explores questions of theoretical and practical import for understanding the politics of risk and the ironies of technological disaster response in a time when IBM’s stated mission is to build a ‘Smarter Planet’. Little critically reflects on IBM’s new corporate tagline, arguing for a political ecology of corporate social and environmental responsibility and accountability that places the social and environmental politics of risk mitigation front and center. Ultimately, Little argues that we will need much more than hollow corporate taglines, claims of corporate responsibility, and attempts to mitigate high-tech disasters to truly build a smarter planet.

Ferry, Elizabeth Emma. 2013. Minerals, Collecting, and Value across the US-Mexico Border

Elizabeth Emma Ferry traces the movement of minerals as they circulate from Mexican mines to markets, museums, and private collections on both sides of the US-Mexico border. She describes how and why these byproducts of ore mining come to be valued by people in various walks of life as scientific specimens, religious offerings, works of art, and luxury collectibles. The story of mineral exploration and trade defines a variegated transnational space, shedding new light on the complex relationship between these two countries and on the process of making value itself.

Wood, Donald C. 2012 Ogata-Mura: Sowing Dissent and Reclaiming Identity in a Japanese Farming Village. New York: Berghahn Books. Amazon listing.
Following the Second World War, a massive land reclamation project to boost Japan’s rice production capacity led to the transformation of the shallow lagoon of Hachirogata in Akita Prefecture into a seventeen-thousand hectare expanse of farmland. In 1964, the village of Ogata-Mura was founded on the empoldered land inside the lagoon and nearly six hundred pioneers from across the country were brought to settle there. The village was to be a model of a new breed of highly mechanized, efficient rice agriculture. However, the village’s purpose was jeopardized when the demand for rice fell, and the goal of creating an egalitarian farming community was threatened as individual entrepreneurialism took root and as the settlers became divided into political factions that to this day continue struggle for control of the village. Based on seventeen years of research, this book explores the process of Ogata-mura’s development from the planning stages to the present. An intensive ethnographic study of the relationship between land reclamation, agriculture, and politics in regional Japan, it traces the internal social effects of the village’s economic transformations while addressing the implications of national policy at the municipal and regional levels.

Tamar Diana Wilson (2012). Economic Life of Mexican Beach Vendors: Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books. Amazon listing.
Economic Life of Mexican Beach Vendors compiles research based on interviews with eighty-two men and eighty-four women who vend their wares on beaches in three Mexican tourist centers—places which can be considered as transnational social spaces. Almost half of the vendors interviewed are indigenous, and most of these are Nahuatl-speakers from Guerrero, followed by Zapotec speakers from Oaxaca. It is found that people may actively choose informal or semi-informal self-employment and that they are often networked into beach vending by family members. Others are there because of lack of alternative work. Many have educational and work aspirations that go beyond hawking. One of the major reasons for embracing beach vending is that they can set their own hours and do not have a boss. The recent economic recession has affected them badly, as many of the unemployed (especially construction workers) are entering beach vending, so competition has increased; because fewer tourists are arriving; and because the tourists who do arrive have less money to spend. The vendors often add value to their merchandise, and may sell goods manufactured either within Mexico or abroad. The beach vendors live in essentially segregated neighborhoods that can be considered apartheid-like and are located far from the tourist zones.

Lyon, Sarah. 2010. Coffee and Community: Maya Farmers and Fair Trade Markets. University Press of Colorado. SEA Book prize winner 2012Amazon link.
We are told that simply by sipping our morning cup of organic, fair-trade coffee we are encouraging environmentally friendly agricultural methods, community development, fair prices, and shortened commodity chains. But what is the reality for producers, intermediaries, and consumers? This ethnographic analysis of fair-trade coffee analyzes the collective action and combined efforts of fair-trade network participants to construct a new economic reality. Focusing on La Voz Que Clama en el Desierto?a cooperative in San Juan la Laguna, Guatemala?and its relationships with coffee roasters, importers, and certifiers in the United States, Coffee and Community argues that while fair trade does benefit small coffee-farming communities, it is more flawed than advocates and scholars have acknowledged. However, through detailed ethnographic fieldwork with the farmers and by following the product, fair trade can be understood and modified to be more equitable. This book will be of interest to students and academics in anthropology, ethnology, Latin American studies, and labor studies, as well as economists, social scientists, policy makers, fair-trade advocates, and anyone interested in globalization and the realities of fair trade.


Books published between 2005 and 2010

Ferry, Elizabeth Emma. Not Ours Alone: Patrimony, Value and Collectivity in Contemporary Mexico.. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005. Amazon link. (also No Sólo Nuestro: Patrimonio, Valor y Colectivismo en Una Cooperativa Minera Guanajuatense. (translation of my book Not Ours Alone, Columbia 2005). Trans. Marcelo Damiani and Martín Árias. Mexico City/Zamora: Universidad Iberoamericana/Colegio de Michoacán., 2011.)
Elizabeth Ferry explores how members of the Santa Fe Cooperative, a silver mine in Mexico, give meaning to their labor in an era of rampant globalization. She analyzes the cooperative’s practices and the importance of patrimonio (patrimony) in their understanding of work, tradition, and community. More specifically, she argues that patrimonio, a belief that certain resources are inalienable possessions of a local collective passed down to subsequent generations, has shaped and sustained the cooperative’s sense of identity.

Notar, Beth E. 2006. Displacing Desire: Travel and Popular Culture in China. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.  Amazon listing.
This ethnography examines how an ethnic minority area in southwest China, Dali, Yunnan, has been represented in popular culture — Lonely Planet travel guides, movie musicals and martial arts novels — and how these representations have inspired millions of tourists from around the world to travel there, thereby transforming the place they seek to find. The book has been used for introductory anthropology courses as well as for courses on globalization, tourism and China’s reform era. Named an “outstanding academic title” by the American Library Association’s Choice magazine in 2007.

Perez, Ricardo. 2005. The State and Small-Scale Fisheries in Puerto Rico. Gainesville, FL: The University Press of Florida. Amazon listing.
Based on ethnographic research in Puerto Rico from 1996 to 2002, the book explains how and why state intervention has retarded the development of small-scale fishing economies by discouraging opportunities for capital accumulation in coastal communities. Drawing on interviews with fishers, fishery agents and scientists, and government officials, along with household surveys and archival research, the book analyzes the rural economic development of the southern coast of the island and documents the contradictory effects of fisheries policy and industrial development in three separate fishing communities. Aided by the marketing strategies of the fisheries to create demand for their products, Puerto Rico’s development policy stimulated immigration to fill temporary jobs, but this situation resulted in serious degradation of the coastal environment and fishery resources upon which the local population depended. Government intervention in fisheries policy also created contradictions between fisheries development and modernization on the one hand and conservation of fish stocks and resources influencing them on the other. The research employs a variety of historical and ethnographic methods to shape an analysis extending beyond Puerto Rican fisheries to illuminate the discouraging interplay between household-based production regimes, intermittent infusions of state funds and expertise, and the strong stimulant of large-scale, though temporary, development projects.

Shepherd, Robert J. 2008. When Culture Goes to Market: Space, Place and Identity in an Urban Marketplace. New York & Bern: Peter Lang. Amazon listing.
This is an ethnographic study of an historic weekend street market on Washington’s Capitol Hill, focusing on social ties between vendors. By analyzing how this marketplace, in contrast to theoretical notions of “The Market”, functions as a social institution embedded in a particular time, place, and series of social relationships, Shepherd examines how urban public space is produced, reproduced, and shaped by larger economic and social processes. In doing so, he explores the practical limits to formalized bureaucratic planning in the success of this street market.

Tamar Diana Wilson. 2009. Women’s Migration Networks in Mexico and Beyond. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. Amazon listing.
Women’s Migration Networks in Mexico and Beyond traces the migration history of a woman born on a rancho in Jalisco who sought work first in Mexico City and then in Mexicali. It gives an overview of her life and work, and the careers of two of her eight daughters who migrated without documents from the border city of Mexicalli to the United States, one to Arizona and one to Nevada. Concepts such as networks, social capital, transnationalism and gender and migration are defined in one chapter and revisited throughout the book. Changes in gender relations in Mexico are explored to explain the greater incidence of women’s migration to the United States in recent times. It is shown that migration networks based in urban centers differ from migration networks based in rural communities, with women playing a greater role in cities. Principles explaining the dynamics of urban-based transnational migration networks are offered.

Tamar Diana Wilson. 2005. Subsidizing Capitalism: Brickmakers on the U.S.-Mexican Border. (Studies in the Anthropology of Work). Albany: SUNY Press. Amazon listing.
In Mexico, self-employed brickmakers support capitalist enterprise by providing bricks to build hotels, factories, office buildings, and shopping malls at costs lower than those based on profit-making principles. Combining Chayanovian and neo-Marxist approaches, Subsidizing Capitalism asserts that the economic activities of these self-employed brickmakers may be considered counterhegemonic because they avoid proletarianization in the formal sector. Tamar Diana Wilson discusses the similarities between peasants and brickmakers, the structural position of garbage pickers in relation to brickmakers, the trajectory from piece worker to petty commodity producer to petty capitalist, the economic value of women’s and children’s work as part of the family labor force, and how the neopatriarchal household is intrinsic to petty commodity production. Interspersed throughout are short stories and poems that offer the brickmakers’ perspectives and provide a rarely seen look into their lives.

E. Christian Wells and Patricia A. McAnany, Editors. 2008. Dimensions of Ritual Economy. Research in Economic Anthropology, Volume 27. Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, UK. Amazon listing. 
Increasingly, economists have acknowledged that a major limitation to economic theory has been its failure to incorporate human values and beliefs as motivational factors. Conversely, the economic underpinnings of ritual practice are under-theorized and therefore not accessible to economists working on synthetic theories of human choice. This book addresses the problem by bringing together anthropologists with diverse backgrounds in the study of religion and economy to forge an analytical vocabulary that constitutes the building blocks of a theory of ritual economy—the process of provisioning and consuming that materializes and substantiates worldview for managing meanings and shaping interpretations. The chapters in Part I explore how values and beliefs structure the dual processes of provisioning and consuming. Contributions to Part II consider how ritual and economic processes interlink to materialize and substantiate worldview. Chapters in Part III examine how people and institutions craft and assert worldview through ritual and economic action to manage meaning and shape interpretation. In Part IV, Jeremy Sabloff outlines the road ahead for developing the theory of ritual economy. By focusing on the intersection of cosmology and material transfers, the contributors push economic theory towards a more socially informed perspective.

E. Christian Wells and Karla L. Davis-Salazar, Editors. 2007. Mesoamerican Ritual Economy: Archaeological and Ethnological Perspectives. U Press of Colorado, Boulder. Amazon link. 
Mesoamerican ritual has long fascinated the hundreds of thousands of visitors who tour the archaeological sites of Mexico and upper Central America each year. The vibrant and exceptionally profitable tourist industry reminds us that Mesoamerican ritual has a colossal impact on the economies of developing nations. But this modern impact has deep historical roots situated in the everyday lives of ancient Mesoamericans. Expression of worldview and religiosity in the form of human blood sacrifice and self mutilation, “flowery wars” and battling butterfly warriors, sumptuous feasting and banqueting with chocolate and tamales, and fantastic funerary rites were intertwined with all sectors of the economy: raw material acquisition, production, circulation, and consumption. The essays in this volume seek to understand this “ritual economy” by exploring the intersection of ritual and economic practices in Mesoamerican societies. By examining the extent to which economic processes are driven by, and integrated with, religious ritual, the authors effectively question the simplistic notion that making, exchanging, and using things is invariably motivated by purely materialistic concerns. In the process, the authors seek to develop a unified conceptual framework and corresponding analytical vocabulary with which to explore the moral and emotional dimensions of Mesoamerican economies. To do so, they consider a diverse set of Mesoamerican culture patterns in order to investigate some of the ways in which ritual and economic practices influenced each other in the operation of communities, small-scale societies, and state-level polities.

Richard Wilk. 2006. Home Cooking in the Global Village: Caribbean Food from Buccaneers to Ecotourists. Oxford (UK): Berg Publishers. WINNER 2008 SEA BOOK PRIZEAmazon link.
Belize, a tiny corner of the Caribbean wedged into Central America, has been a fast food nation since buccaneers and pirates first stole ashore. As early as the 1600s it was already caught in the great paradox of globalization: how can you stay local and relish your own home cooking, while tasting the delights of the global marketplace? Menus, recipes and bad colonial poetry combine with Wilk’s sharp anthropological insight to give an important new perspective on the perils and problems of globalization.

Richard Wilk and Lisa Cliggett. 2007. Economies And Cultures: Foundations of Economic Anthropology (2nd edition). Boulder (CO):Westview Press. Amazon listing.
More than any other anthropological subdiscipline, economic anthropology constantly questions and debates the practical motives of people as they go about their daily lives. Tracing the history of the dialog between anthropology and economics, Richard R. Wilk and Lisa C. Cliggett move economic anthropology beyond the narrow concerns of earlier debates and place the field directly at the center of current issues in the social sciences. They focus on the unique strengths of economic anthropology as a meeting place for symbolic and materialist approaches and for understanding human beings as both practical and cultural. In so doing, the authors argue for the wider relevance of economic anthropology to applied anthropology and identify other avenues for interaction with economics, sociology, and other social and behavioral sciences. The second edition of Economies and Societies contains an entirely new chapter on gifts and exchange that critically approaches the new literature in this area, as well as a thoroughly updated bibliography and guide for students for finding case studies in economic anthropology.

Lofgren, Orvar, and Richard Wilk, eds. 2007. Off the Edge: Experiments in Cultural Analysis. Copenhagen (Denmark): Museum Tusculanum. Amazon listing.
Have you ever heard of the cream effect or witnessed the power of cultural backdraft? Have you watched the slow process of fossilization or used the tactics of cultural stealth? You might be waiting for just the right word to describe what you have seen and done. This collection revitalizes the study of the cultural processes of stability and change. The 25 essays invent new processes for a rapidly changing world. They illustrate how different perspectives enrich cultural analysis and add a bit of playfulness and experimentation to a longstanding academic issue. The authors – from anthropology, European ethnology, sociology and cultural studies – are peeking into blind spots and looking under the furniture in order to understand why and how some kinds of social life become visible, while so many others remain unseen. This book will inspire researchers and students to develop new approaches in cultural analysis.

Suzan Erem and Paul Durrenberger. 2008. On the Global Waterfront: The Fight to Free the Charleston 5. New York: Monthly Review Press. Amazon listing.
On the Global Waterfront tells the story of how longshoremen in South Carolina confronted attempts to wipe out the state’s most powerful black organization. When a Danish shipping company began to shift their transportation to a nonunion firm in 1999, Local 1422 in Charleston, South Carolina, mobilized to protect their hard-won rights. What followed culminated in a protest in which 660 riot police arrayed against fifty dockworkers, a group that grew to 150 before the night was over. Four black and one white longshoreman—subsequently known as the Charleston 5—were held for twenty months under house arrest on trumped-up felony charges of inciting a riot. Within the politically conservative, racially charged, and religiously fanatic climate of the South, the unassuming local union president, Ken Riley—supported behind the scenes by a militant AFL-CIO staffer—crafted an international, grassroots campaign in defense of the arrested longshoremen. From Australia to Europe to Korea and the entire west coast of the United States, longshoremen threatened to shut down ports jeopardizing billions of dollars in trade per day. Their ultimate success vaulted Riley, and his reform-minded coworkers, to higher leadership in a notoriously corrupt union, and laid the foundation for successful rebuffs in ports around the world. On the Global Waterfront explores in detail a local conflict and in the process exposes the powers that rule the United States and the global economy. This compelling narrative of a local struggle, a transformed union leader, and a newly energized international worker movement highlights the resounding importance of the international labor movement that is not only still vital, but still capable of stopping global commerce on a dime.

Cliggett, Lisa 2005. Grains from Grass: Aging, Gender and Famine in Rural Africa. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Amazon listing.
In her ethnography of the Gwembe Tonga people of rural Zambia, Lisa Cliggett explores what happens to kinship ties in times of famine. The Tonga, a matrilineal Bantu-speaking society, had long lived and farmed along the banks of the Zambezi River, but when the Kariba Dam was completed and the river valley was flooded in 1958, approximately 57,000 people were forcibly relocated. All of southern Africa has suffered from severe droughts in the last three decades, and the Gwembe Valley has proved particularly susceptible to failed harvests and sociopolitically and ecologically triggered crises.
The work of survival for the Gwembe Tonga includes difficult decisions about how to distribute inadequate resources among family members. Physically limited elderly Tonga who rely on their kin for food and assistance are particularly vulnerable. Cliggett examines Tonga household economies and support systems for the elderly. Old men and women, she finds, use deeply gendered approaches to encourage aid from their children and fend off starvation.
In extreme circumstances, often the only resources at people’s disposal are social support networks. Cliggett’s book tells a story about how people living in environmentally and economically dire circumstances manage their social and material worlds to the best of their ability, sometimes at the cost of maintaining kinship bonds—a finding that challenges Western notions of family among indigenous people, especially in rural Africa.

Books published before 2005

  • Browne, Katherine E. 2004. Creole Economics: Caribbean Cunning Under the French Flag. Austin: University of Texas Press.
  • Cohen, Jeffrey. 2004. The Culture of Migration in Southern Mexico. Austin: University of Texas Press.
  • Colloredo Mansfeld, Rudi. 1999. The Native Leisure Class: Consumption and Cultural Creativity in the Andes. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press.
  • Earle, Timothy. 2002. Bronze Age Economics: The Beginnings of the Political Economy. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.
  • Edelman, Marc. 1999. Peasants Against Globalization: Rural Social Movements in Costa Rica. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.
  • Fisher, William. 2000. Rain Forest Exchanges: Industry and Commerce on an Amazonian Frontier. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution Press.
  • Freeman, Carla. 2000. High Tech and High Heels in the Global Economy: Women, Work and Pink Collar Identity in the Caribbean. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press.
  • Grimes, Kimberley and B. Lynne Milgram, eds. 2000. Artisans and Cooperatives: Developing Alternative Trade for the Global Economy. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.
  • Gudeman, Stephen. 2001. The Anthropology of Economy: Community, Market, and Culture. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Hansen, Karen Tranberg. 2000. Salaula: The World of Secondhand Clothing and Zambia. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. Winner of the 2003 SEA Book Prize.
  • Little, Walter. 2004. Mayas in the Marketplace: Tourism, Globalization, and Cultural Identity. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press.
  • Mayer, Enrique. 2002. The Articulated Peasant: Household Economies in the Andes. Boulder, Colorado: Westview.
  • Pickering, Kathleen. 2000. Lakota Culture, World Economy. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press.
  • Pospisil, Leopold. 1995. Oberbenberg, A Quantitative Analysis of a Tirolean Peasant Economy. New Haven: Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • Saul, Mahir and Patrick Royer. 2002. West African Challenge to Empire: Culture and History in the Volta-Bani Anticolonial War. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.
  • Smith, M. Estellie. 2000. Trade and Trade-Offs: Using Resources, Making Choice, and Taking Risks. Prospect Heights, Illinos: Waveland Press.
  • Trager, Lillian. 2001. Yoruba Hometowns: Community, Identity, and Development in Nigeria. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner.
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