Published on
by
The Toronto Star

Claude Levi-Strauss, 100: Reshaped Field of Anthropology

by

French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, seen here in 2005, has died at the age of 100. Levi-Strauss helped shape Western thinking about human civilisation with his 1955 book "Tristes Tropiques". (AFP/File/Pascal Pavani)

PARIS–Claude Levi-Strauss, widely considered the father of modern anthropology for work that included theories about commonalities between tribal and industrial societies, has died. He was 100.

The French intellectual was regarded as having reshaped the field of anthropology, introducing the concept of structuralism – concepts about common patterns of behaviour and thought, especially myths, in a wide range of human societies. Defined as the search for the underlying patterns of thought in all forms of human activity, structuralism compared the formal relationships among elements in any given system.

During his six-decade career, Levi-Strauss authored literary and anthropological classics including Tristes Tropiques (1955), The Savage Mind (1963) and The Raw and the Cooked (1964).

Jean-Mathieu Pasqualini, chief of staff at the Academie Francaise, said an homage to Levi-Strauss was planned for Thursday, with members of the society – of which Levi-Strauss was a member – standing during a speech to honour his memory.

Born on Nov. 28, 1908, in Brussels, Belgium, Levi-Strauss was the son of French parents of Jewish origin. He studied in Paris and went on to teach in Sao Paulo, Brazil and conduct much of the research that led to his breakthrough books in the South American giant.

Levi-Strauss also won worldwide acclaim and was awarded honorary doctorates universities including Harvard, Yale and Oxford, as well as universities in Sweden, Mexico and Canada.

He is survived by his sons Roman and Laurent.

FRIENDS: Help Us Fight

Independent journalism has become the last firewall against government and corporate lies. Yet, with frightening regularity, independent media sources are losing funding, closing down or being blacked out by Google and Facebook. Never before has independent media been more endangered. If you believe in Common Dreams, if you believe in people-powered independent media, please support us now and help us fight—with truths—against the lies that would smother our democracy. Please help keep Common Dreams alive and growing. Thank you. -- Craig Brown, Co-founder

Support Common DreamsSupport Common Dreams

Share This Article

More in: