By Claude Levi-Strauss
Professor Lévi-Strauss’s first significant paintings, Les buildings élémentaires de los angeles Parenté, has bought a vintage acceptance when you consider that its unique booklet in 1949; and it has turn into the consistent concentration of educational debate approximately vital theoretical matters in social anthropology. it really is, besides the fact that, a protracted and hard booklet for lots of scholars to learn in French, and its arguments have therefore turn into identified, even between expert anthropologists, principally via severe research. It used to be republished in a revised French variation in 1967 with a brand new foreword via the writer, and it truly is this article together with his additional emendations that has been utilized in this translation.
Lévi-Strauss applies his highbrow powers to the perennial challenge of incest, which he elucidates via the concept that of alternate as formulated by way of Marcel Mauss in his recognized research of the present (Essai sur le don, 1925). He distinguishes effortless modes of trade which govern not just the normal number of items and providers but additionally the move of girls in marriage: those are “restricted” and “generalized” alternate. With a mass of ethnographic proof he demonstrates how the ambitious intricacy of marriage customs, comprising ethical and jural rules and associations (which seem to be primarily arbitrary), will be visible as neighborhood and old ideas of exchange.
Charles Lévi-Strauss lines those ideas all through an unlimited diversity of easy societies, mainly in Australia and mainland Southeast Asia but additionally within the Americas, in Oceania, and in different components of the realm. To this survey he provides prolonged sections at the nice civilizations of China and India. He maintains with a briefer attention of the passage from hassle-free to complicated buildings, with specific connection with African societies, and concludes with a stimulating bankruptcy at the ideas of kinship, trade because the common foundation for marriage prohibitions, and the formal relatives among the sexes as a part of a universe of communication.
Although a lot of the paintings is technical, which include particular analyses of sorts of social association with which social anthropologists might be such a lot conventional, it additionally includes a lot that may be of curiosity to psychologists, linguists, and philosophers, and to all who're attracted to the chance and the means of the structural research of human job. After the successes, furthermore, of Lévi-Strauss’s next books—notably Structural Anthropology, Tristes Tropiques, Totemism, and The Savage Mind—this re-creation of the paintings which based his current impressive popularity could have extra worth as an additional technique of touch with one of many unique minds of this century.
The translation has been made through James Harle Bell and John Richard von Sturmer, of the collage of latest England, Australia, and by means of Rodney Needham, of the collage of Oxford. Dr. Needham additionally acted as common editor and provided the paintings with a brand new normal index. he's the translator of Lévi-Strauss’s Le Totemisme aujourd’hui and writer of Structure and Sentiment (1962) and diverse papers that have contributed to the popularity of Professor Lévi-Strauss’s paintings within the English-speaking global.
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Extra resources for The Elementary Structures of Kinship
The hypothesis advanced by Durkheim in the important work which inaugurated the Année Sociologique 18 has three characteristics. Firstly, it is based upon the universalization of facts observed in a limited group of societies; secondly, it makes the prohibition of incest a distant consequence of rules of exogamy; and, thirdly, these rules of exogamy are interpreted by reference to phenomena of a different order. Durkheim believed that the observation of Australian societies, which were regarded as illustrating a primitive type of organization formerly common to every human society, would provide the solution to the problem of incest.
For Lewis H. Morgan and Sir Henry Maine, 1 for example, the origin of the incest prohibition is really -- 13 -both natural and social, but in the sense that it results from a social reflection upon a natural phenomenon. The incest prohibition is taken to be a protective measure, shielding the species from the disastrous results of consanguineous marriages. This theory is remarkable in that it is required by its very statement to extend to all human societies, even to the most primitive, which in other matters give no indication of any such eugenic second-sight, the sensational privilege of knowing the alleged consequences of endogamous unions.
Dominates B, B dominates C, and C dominates A, while all three dominate the rest of the group. ' 12 In addition, the sex life of these anthropoids provides a `picture that almost covers the entire field of sexual behaviour in man... all of the "normal" elements... also... the more conspicuous of the elements usually designated as "abnormal" in that they run up against social conventions. ' 14 Malinowski, then, is wrong when he writes that all the factors which define the sexual behaviour of male anthropoids `are common to all individuals of the species.
The Elementary Structures of Kinship by Claude Levi-Strauss