Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the work of the anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss. One of twentieth-century France’s most celebrated intellectuals, Levi-Strauss attempted to show in his work that thought processes were a feature universal to humans, whether they lived in tribal rainforest societies or in the rich intellectual life of Paris. During the 1930s he studied native Brazilian tribes in the Amazonian jungle, but for most of his long career he preferred the study to the field. He was the leading exponent of structuralism, a school of thought which was influential for decades, and was involved in a famous debate with his friend Jean-Paul Sartre, who resisted many of his ideas. His books about the nature of myth, human thought and kinship are now seen as some of the most important anthropological texts written in the twentieth century.

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  • Adam Kuper 3 episodes
    Visiting Professor of Anthropology at Boston University
  • Christina Howells 5 episodes
    Professor of French at Oxford University
  • Vincent Debaene No other episodes
    Associate Professor of French Literature at Columbia University

Reading list

  • Claude Levi-Strauss
    Edmund Leach (University of Chicago Press, 1989) Google Books →
  • Myth and Meaning: Cracking the Code of Culture
    Claude Levi-Strauss (Schocken Books, 1995) Google Books →
  • Structural Anthropology
    Claude Levi-Strauss (Basic Books, 1974) Google Books →
  • The Savage Mind
    Claude Levi-Strauss (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1994) Google Books →
  • Tristes Tropiques
    Claude Levi-Strauss (Penguin Books, 1992) Google Books →
  • Conversations with Claude Levi-Strauss
    Claude Levi-Strauss and Didier Eribon (University of Chicago Press, 1991) Google Books →
  • Claude Levi-Strauss: The Father of Modern Anthropology
    Patrick Wilcken (Penguin Books, 2012) Google Books →
  • Introducing Levi-Strauss and Structural Anthropology
    Boris Wiseman (Icon Books Ltd, 2000) Google Books →
  • The Cambridge Companion to Levi-Strauss
    Boris Wiseman (ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 2009) Google Books →

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Programme ID: b01sjjxl

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01sjjxl

Auto-category: 301 (Sociology & anthropology)

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