Annotated Bibliography of Articles about the American Culture

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The authors' purpose Philip DeVita and James Armstrong, the authors of this collection, decided to produce this work for the purpose of "understanding ourselves" (the title of the introductory remarks). They start by pointing out the remarkable freshness Alexis de Tocqueville's observation of America in the mid-19th century offered at the time. They note that concerns for understanding the "other" have always interested anthropologists. And this collection, as they argue, is an attempt to understand America as the "other" by looking at American culture, society, politics, intellectual traditions, and attitudes from the perspectives of outsiders. DeVita and Armstrong emphasize that it is hard for a social scientist to fully understand the uniqueness and strangeness of one's culture. Growing up within the culture means accepting one's cultural assumptions for granted. Being closed to the perspectives only outsiders might have, those who grow up in American culture fail to ask the kind of questions that may reveal more about America. And this is where, DeVita and Armstrong argue, the essay collection comes in. They asked anthropologists from numerous Western and non-Western countries to share their experiences of living, observing, and understanding American culture and society. These outsiders express their wonder and critical insight for understanding aspects of American life Americans normally would not otherwise see on their own. Finally, the authors note they want
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