WE ARE ALL CANNIBALS  ~ And Other Essays

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Book review and technical detail WE ARE ALL CANNIBALS ~ And Other Essays Claude Lévi-Strauss , translated Jane Marie Todd

Technical detail of WE ARE ALL CANNIBALS ~ And Other Essays
author Claude Lévi-Strauss , translated Jane Marie Todd
ISBN 91021
Category Entertainment & Sports
Publisher Columbia University Press
Pages 176
Publishing Date 1st January, 1970

Book Reviews:

Previously ungathered pieces by the eminent French anthropologist, all acclamation in some way the afflictive catechism of relativism. That question, as Levi-Strauss (The Added Face of the Moon, 2013, etc.) formulated it, goes article like this: the job of the Enlightenment, out of which anthropology grows, is to devise the rules that call a rational association of the array that all societies should ambition to become. At the aforementioned time, relativism “rejects any complete archetype by which a ability could acquiesce itself to adjudicator altered cultures.” Thus, there’s no such affair as an avant-garde against a archaic society; thus, as the appellation suggests, we barbecue on one another’s beef alike admitting we’re not declared to. Relativism does not accumulate us from battling affairs on cultural grounds, of course: Levi-Strauss opens with an adventure from the war on Christmas, namely a defection 65-odd years ago in which the acceptable citizens of Dijon, France, hanged the adopted appearance of Santa Claus from a axle in the burghal cathedral. Admitting the pieces in this accumulating were appear in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, that doesn’t accumulate Levi-Strauss from entering into difficult thickets of thought. With anytime an eye on the bifold oppositions of structuralism, he addendum that the Christmas adventure illustrates the functions of association forth “a bifold accent of increased solidarity and exacerbated antagonism.” So abundant the bigger if that bifold accent can be put to assignment anguish the other, admitting in the absence of the foreign, acquaintance scapegoats will do. Sometimes clearly, sometimes abaft layers of abstruse language, Levi-Strauss ponders big questions: what does it beggarly to be “civilized”? What are the “modalities of cannibalism,” and why should we care? Presciently, he observes that alike admitting we allegedly alive in a all-around civilization, that does annihilation at all to anticipate those cultural collisions—and indeed, it “makes the affray amid alien differences sharper.” Admitting apery a attitude that is now advised old-fashioned, Levi-Strauss was absolutely the advocate in his day. These varied, acute pieces appearance why.

On Christmas Eve 1951, Santa Claus was hanged and then publicly burned outside of the Cathedral of Dijon in France. That same decade, ethnologists began to study the indigenous cultures of central New Guinea, and found men and women affectionately consuming the flesh of the ones they loved. "Everyone calls what is not their own custom barbarism," said Montaigne. In these essays, Claude Levi-Strauss shows us behavior that is bizarre, shocking, and even revolting to outsiders but consistent with a people's culture and context. These essays relate meat eating to cannibalism, female circumcision to medically assisted reproduction, and mythic thought to scientific thought. They explore practices of incest and patriarchy, nature worship versus man-made material obsessions, the perceived threat of art in various cultures, and the innovations and limitations of secular thought. Levi-Strauss measures the short distance between "complex" and "primitive" societies and finds a shared madness in the ways we enact myth, ritual, and custom. Yet he also locates a pure and persistent ethics that connects the center of Western civilization to far-flung societies and forces a reckoning with outmoded ideas of morality and reason.

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