Coffee Culture : Local Experiences, Global Connections

Coffee Culture – The Anthropology of Stuff is part of a new series, The Routledge Series for Creative Teaching and Learning in Anthropology, dedicated to innovative, unconventional ways to connect undergraduate students and their lived concern about our social world to the power of social science and evidence. Our goal is to help spark social science imaginations and, in doing so, new avenues for meaningful thought and action. Each “Stuff” title is a short text illuminating for students the network of people and activities that create their material world.

Coffee Culture : Local Experiences, Global Connections explores coffee as (1) a major commodity that shapes the lives of millions of people; (2) a product with a checkered and dramatic history; (3) a beverage with multiple meanings and uses (energizer, comfort food, addiction, flavoring, and confection); (4) an inspiration for humor and cultural critique; (5) an agricultural crop that can help protect biodiversity yet also threaten the environment; (6) a health risk and health food; and (7) a focus for alternative trade efforts (fair trade and environmental certification programs). It presents coffee as a commodity that ties the world together, from the coffee producers and picker who tend the plantations in tropical nations, to the middlemen and processors, to the customer who drink coffee without ever having to think about how the drink reached their hands.

Catherine M. Tucker is a sociocultural and ecological anthropologist at Indiana University.

Table of Contents


Coffee Culture, Social Life, and Global History

  1. Culture, Caffeine, and Coffee Shops
  2. Theories of food and social meanings of Coffee
  3. Coffee Culture, History, and Media in Coca-Cola Land
  4. Tracking Coffee Connection
  5. Coffee and the rise of the world system
  6. Coffee, the industrial revolution, and body discipline


Accolades and Antipathies : Coffee Controversies Through Time

7.  Coffee Controversies and threats to social order

8. National identities and cultural relevance

9. Hot and Bothered : Coffee and Caffeine Humor


10. Is coffee good or bad for you ? Debates over Physical and Mental Health Effects


Coffee Production and Processing

11. Planting and Caring for Coffee

12. Harvesting, Processing, and Inequality

13. Environmental Sustainability of coffee production

14. Environmental Conundrums of coffee processing


Markets and The modern world system

15. Market volatility and social calamity

16. Efforts to mitigate the coffee cycle and the distribution of power

17. A brief history of fair trade

18. Conundrums of fair trade coffee : Building equity or reinventing subjugation ?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *