Claude Lévi-Strauss

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Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908 - 2009) was a French anthropologist, linguist, ethnologist, and professor. He studied philosophy at the Sorbonne. His work was central to the development of structuralist philosophy. In 1934 Francophile Julio de Mesquita Filho invited Lévi-Strauss and Fernand Braudel to help establish a university in Brazil.

Lévi-Strauss used language analysis in analytic myth criticism.

It would seem that mythological worlds have been built up only to be shattered again, and that new worlds were built from the fragments... Mythology confronts the student with a situation which at first sight appears contradictory. On the one hand it would seem that in the course of a myth anything is likely to happen. There is no logic, no continuity. Any characteristic can be attributed to any subject; every conceivable relation can be found. With myth, everything becomes possible. But on the other hand, this apparent arbitrariness is belied by the astounding similarity between myths collected in widely different regions. Therefore the problem: If the content of a myth is contingent, how are we going to explain the fact that myths throughout the world are so similar?[1]

Claude Lévi-Strauss

"His popularity rests on his belief that there are no superior cultures, that man acts according to a logical structure in his brain, and that once the code of this logical structure can be discovered, the human sciences can be as scientific as the natural sciences." [2]


  • The Elementary Structures of Kinship (1949)
  • Tristes tropiques (1955)
  • Structural Anthropology (1961, 1973)
  • Mythologiques (1964 – 1971)
  • The Raw and the Cooked (1964)
  • The Savage Mind (1966)


See also

External links

  • Obituary New York Times, November 4, 2009.