Claude Lévi-Strauss

Claude Lévi-Strauss

Birth
Brussels, Arrondissement Brussel-Hoofdstad, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium
Death 30 Oct 2009 (aged 100)
Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Burial Lignerolles, Departement de l'Indre, Centre, France
Memorial ID 43884103 · View Source
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Social Anthropologist. Born in Brussels, Belgium to Emma Levy and Raymond Levi-Strauss, an artist. He studied philosophy and law at the University of Paris and became a secondary school teacher. In 1934, he took a position as a professor of sociology at the University of São Paulo, Brazil where he did his only field work with the Guaycuru and Bororo tribes of Brazil. During World War II, he took refuge in New York where he taught at the New School of Social Research in Manhattan. In 1949, he published his first major work, 'Les Structures élémentaires de la parenté' (The Elementary Structures of Kinship). This was followed by his much talked about autobiographical work 'Tristes Tropiques' in 1955, as well as 'Structural Anthropology' (1958), 'The Savage Mind' (1962), 'From Honey to Ashes' (1966), 'The Origin of Table Manners (1986), 'Mythologiques' (4 volumes; 1964-72), 'The Raw and the Cooked' (1970) and 'The Naked Man' (1971). In 1950, he became director of the laboratory of Social Anthropology at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes at Paris University. He was noted for his view of 'hot' and 'cold' societies. Those that altered significantly and remained open to divergent influences were 'hot,' while cultures that changed only marginally over time were considered 'cold.' He attempted to focus upon the difficult to define inner life of a society rather than upon material culture. He also attempted to describe systems of meaning and the ways in which these were expressed in a culture's mythologies and relationships of exchange. He is known for his thoughts on structuralism, a theory that describes the idea that all cultures have a similar, underlying structure, which helps to define cultural beliefs and behaviors. He was appointed a member of the Légion d’honneur in 1964, and elected to the Academie Française in 1973. He held the chair of Social Anthropology at the Collège de France from 1959 to 1982. In 1983 he published a collection of essays, 'Le Regard éloigné' (The View from Afar). Despite the fact that he had no formal training in anthropology, he has been lauded as a pioneer in his chosen field, regardless of the once voiced opinion that despite his prestige, critics among his colleagues outnumbered disciples. He has been credited with altering modern views of the 'primitive,' explaining that there was little difference between the thought processes of a so-called 'savage' and a so-called 'civilized' man. The Centre National de la Récherche Scientifique awarded him its Gold Medal, the highest scientific award in France. He he succumbed to heart failure at age 100.

Bio by: Iola


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Eugene J. Henderson
  • Added: 3 Nov 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 43884103
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Claude Lévi-Strauss (28 Nov 1908–30 Oct 2009), Find A Grave Memorial no. 43884103, citing Cimetière de Lignerolles, Lignerolles, Departement de l'Indre, Centre, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .