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Ortner, Geertz Levi-Strauss - Claude Lvi-Strauss Clifford...

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Claude Lévi-Strauss, Clifford Geertz, and Sherry Ortner The move from structuralism, to symbols, to agency Wednesday, February 9, 2011
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Claude Levi-Strauss • November 28, 1908 - October 30, 2009 • French • Kinship, myth and language • Universal human grammar of/for culture • Also interested in the symbolic Wednesday, February 9, 2011
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Understanding of Culture - a lineage Benedict & Mead (culture and personality): Culture is personality writ large. It both shapes and is shaped by the personalities of its members Douglas & Geertz (symbolic and interpretive anthropology): Culture is the way in which members of a society understand who they are and give lives meaning Lévi-Strauss (structuralism): Universal original human culture can be discovered through analysis and comparison of the myths and customs of many cultures Wednesday, February 9, 2011
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Structuralism • Culture: Involves a variety of communicative exchanges in the areas of kinship, myth, and language • These exchanges follow a relatively small set of basic forms or “deep structures” • Structures that reflect a “universal grammar of culture rooted in the subconscious - our drive/need to classify Introducing Lévi-Strauss (1998) Wednesday, February 9, 2011
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Structuralism Wednesday, February 9, 2011
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Structuralism Structuralism is the process of uncovering our unconscious orderings of cultural life Wednesday, February 9, 2011
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Structuralism and anthropology • “Anthropology draws its originality from the unconscious nature of collective phenomena” (Lévi-Strauss 1963: 18) • “The segmentation and imposition of form on inherently formless phenomena (like space and time) reflect deeply held structures from the bedrock of humanness” (Moore 237). Wednesday, February 9, 2011
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Structuralism and anthropology Wednesday, February 9, 2011
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Structuralism and anthropology Understand the role of forgetfulness in a specific cultural context Wednesday, February 9, 2011
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Structuralism and mythology Wednesday, February 9, 2011
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Structuralism and mythology • “the elements of mythical thought... lie half-way between precepts (rules) and concepts (abstractions)” (1966: 18). Wednesday, February 9, 2011
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Structuralism and mythology • “the elements of mythical thought... lie half-way between precepts (rules) and concepts (abstractions)” (1966: 18). • Assumption that unconscious structures are to be found in myth Wednesday, February 9, 2011
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Structuralism and mythology • “the elements of mythical thought... lie half-way between precepts (rules) and concepts (abstractions)” (1966: 18). • Assumption that unconscious structures are to be found in myth • Thus, mythology can reflect the existence of “fundamental mental structures that provide the organizing categories of cultural phenomena” (Moore 241). Wednesday, February 9, 2011
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Structuralism and mythology • “the elements of mythical thought... lie half-way between precepts (rules) and concepts (abstractions)” (1966: 18).
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