HRAF News Vol. 2019-4
Cross-cultural studies aplenty!
If you know your history on anthropological cross-cultural research (the systematic, worldwide kind), then you probably consider its heyday to be the 1970s. However, we used our open-access database Explaining Human Culture to count how many cross-cultural studies have been published each year. After a dip in the 1980s and 1990s, the frequency of cross-cultural studies has rebounded to heyday-levels!

Thinking of doing your own cross-cultural study? Get inspired by our newest exploratory articles! Jeffrey Vadala draws upon his ethnographic experiences to understand patterns in shamanism, while Fran Barone uses eHRAF to examine socialization techniques across cultures. For more methodological investigations, see Damián Blasi's cross-cultural biolinguistic study or Ian Skoggard's Anthropology News article spotlighting ten years of HRAF research.

And don't forget about our open-access course, Introducing Cross-Cultural Research , which guides you through the steps of designing and performing a test of a cross-cultural hypothesis.
Contact us if your institution is interested in perpetual membership.
"I had initially learned from anthropologic al debates and texts that shamanism was a problematic, overused concept that often generalized and romanticized the archaic human past. However, after meeting shamans, getting to know them, and participating in shamanic ritual events, I found an amazing array of continuities and parallel beliefs and practices in cultures that had been separated by oceans and thousands of years of human history." 

"What do you do when a child throws a temper tantrum? Enabling young children to control their emotions – especially anger – is a challenge that all parents face. From deciding the 'right' or 'wrong' way to calm a child, to instilling non-violence and control over one’s emotions, there are many factors to consider in terms of child development. All children get angry. Is teaching them how to manage their anger a universally difficult task around the world?"

Damián Blasi at the University of Zurich and a research associate here at HRAF recently published a paper with colleagues  in Science  reporting significant differences in the frequency of “F” and “V” sounds in language; hunter-gatherer languages rarely have these sounds (Blasi et al. 2019). The researchers present broad support for the theory that “F” and “V” sounds emerged with the transition to agriculture, probably because dietary changes to softer foods led to an overbite which made the sounds more likely.

HRAF anthropologist Ian Skoggard wrote about findings and themes from our past ten years of cross-cultural research for the AAA's Anthropology News . Click here to check it out!

"Climate scientists predict that accelerated global warming will increase the impacts of extreme weather events such as droughts, typhoons and floods...While these climate events may be becoming more extreme, such events resulting in disasters is not new. It is important to try to understand how human societies with varying livelihoods and vulnerabilities have responded to and invented solutions to such conditions, both in the past and the present..."
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