The Savage Mind

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University of Chicago Press, 1966 - Philosophy - 290 pages
2 Reviews
"Every word, like a sacred object, has its place. No précis is possible. This extraordinary book must be read."—Edmund Carpenter, New York Times Book Review

"No outline is possible; I can only say that reading this book is a most exciting intellectual exercise in which dialectic, wit, and imagination combine to stimulate and provoke at every page."—Edmund Leach, Man

"Lévi-Strauss's books are tough: very scholarly, very dense, very rapid in argument. But once you have mastered him, human history can never be the same, nor indeed can one's view of contemporary society. And his latest book, The Savage Mind, is his most comprehensive and certainly his most profound. Everyone interested in the history of ideas must read it; everyone interested in human institutions should read it."—J. H. Plumb, Saturday Review

"A constantly stimulating, informative and suggestive intellectual challenge."—Geoffrey Gorer, The Observer, London
 

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Contents

THE SCIENCE OF THE CONCRETE
1
THE LOGIC OF TOTEMIC CLASSIFICATIONS
35
SYSTEMS OF TRANSFORMATIONS
75
TOTEM AND CASTE
109
CATEGORIES ELEMENTS SPECIES NUMBERS
135
UNIVERSALIZATION AND PARTICULARIZATION
161
THE INDIVIDUAL AS A SPECIES
191
TIME REGAINED
217
HISTORY AND DIALECTIC
245
BIBLIOGRAPHY
271
INDEX
283
Copyright

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About the author (1966)

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. Levi-Strauss died October 30, 2009.

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