The analysis of symbols deals with the meanings of words, the meanings of actions, and the meaning of objects in the culture. This chapter discusses “reading” culture like a text, and how anthropologists understand and interpret the meanings of words and actions.

·      Learning Objective 1: Understand the symbolic use of metaphor and metonym and the two-sidedness of symbols.

·      Learning Objective 2: Understand the multiple uses of symbolism in food and eating cross-culturally.

·      Learning Objective 3: Understand how group identity is established through symbolism.

·      Learning Objective 4: Understand how to “read” the symbolism of domestic and public space. 

·      Learning Objecting 5: Understand the multiple ways in which the human body is symbolically used in culture-specific contexts of meaning.