Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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(1908-) Professor of Social Anthropology at the College de France; founder and leading exponent of a major twentieth-century intellectual movement known as French structuralism .

Lévi-Strauss studied law and philosophy at the University of Paris but became disenchanted with these fields and accepted a teaching post in sociology at the University of Săo Paulo, Brazil. While in Brazil, he made numerous expeditions to study the indigenous peoples of the interior. He spent the war years teaching at the New School for Social Research in New York City. For Lévi-Strauss, a major goal of anthropology is to seek fundamental, underlying structures or organizing principles of the human mind, which, he argues, are to be found among all peoples in all places at all times. His investigations focus on ways in which the unconscious "orders" cultural phenomena. Lévi-Strauss has applied structuralist principles to the analysis of myth, social organization, ritual, and native systems of thought. Among his publications of relevance to the scientific study of religion are Totemism (Penguin 1969), Structural Anthropology (Basic Books, 1963), The Savage Mind (University of Chicago Press, 1962), The Raw and the Cooked, From Honey to Ashes , and The Origin of Table Manners (Harper 1964, 1966, 1978).

Stephen D. Glazier


E. Leach, Lévi-Strauss (London: Fontana/Collins, 1970)

I. Rossi (ed.), The Unconscious in Culture (New York: Dutton, 1974).

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