Totemism

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Beacon Press, 1963 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 128 pages
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A seminal work. The topic is ostensibly totemism, but more profoundly, Levi-Strauss unveils an entire methodology, showing, inter alia, how metaphor organizes social organization. Read full review

Contents

THE TOTEMIC ILLUSION
15
AUSTRALIAN NOMINALISM
33
FUNCTIONALIST THEORIES OF TOTEMISM
56
Copyright

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About the author (1963)

Claude Levi-Strauss, a French anthropologist, was the founder of structural anthropology. This theoretical position assumes that there are structural propensities in the human mind that lead unconsciously toward categorization of physical and social objects, hence such book titles as The Raw and the Cooked (1964) and such expositions of his work by others as The Unconscious in Culture and Elementary Structures Reconsidered. According to Levi-Strauss, the models of society that scholars create are often dual in nature:status-contract (Maine): Gemeinschaft-Gesellschaft (Tonnies); mechanical-organic solidarity (Durkheim); folk-urban (Redfield); universalism-particularism (Parsons); and local-cosmopolitan (Merton). Levi-Strauss's writings---some of which have been described by Clifford Geertz as "theoretical treatises set out as travelogues"---have been enormously influential throughout the scholarly world. George Steiner has described him, along with Freud (see also Vol. 5) and Marx (see also Vol. 4), as one of the major architects of the thought of our times.