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Descombes’ The Institutions of Meaning

The Institutions of Meaning: A Defense of Anthropological Holism

by Vincent Descombes

translated by Stephen Adam Schwartz. Harvard University Press, 2014. 392 pp.

 

How is what is “in” our minds, as thought, also something that we share, communicate, and can understand? This question, however posed, must be fundamental for any anthropological approach to mental life. In the course of …

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Eduardo Kohn’s How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human

This article is part of the following series:

Editor’s note: As part of our new series, Second Opinion (not to be confused with the SMA’s similarly titled newsletter) we ask two contributors to review the same book, respond to the same question, or comment on the same set of issues.  For our first pair of Second Opinion posts, we invited two reviews of Eduardo Kohn’s new book, How …

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Books

From Honey to Ashes: The Intellectual Journeys of Levi-Strauss

Review of Claude Levi-Strauss: The Poet in the Laboratory, by Patrick Wilcken.

The Penguin Press, 2010. 416 pages. $29.95 (hardcover).

Leo Coleman (The Ohio State University)

At a wedding I recently attended, one of the toasts included reference to a set of life-resolutions the bride had made with her high-school friends: To travel abroad, to learn another language, and …

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Features

Psychoanalytic metaphors and mythical medical realities in Claude Lévi-Strauss’s contribution to medical anthropology

There are few subject areas in anthropology untouched by the seminal thought of the late Professor Claude Lévi-Strauss. Though he published only two or three essays concerned expressly with medical subject matter, his theorization in those places of the role of myth and shamanistic authority in symbolic/magical healing opened up questions with lasting significance. I would like to briefly review …

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Features

Claude Lévi-Strauss est mort

The sad news has just arrived that Claude Lévi-Strauss, who celebrated his 100th birthday less than a year ago, has passed away.  See the coverage in the New York Times, Le Monde, Le Figaro, The Atlantic Wire, and an extensive obituary by Maurice Bloch in The Guardian.  I think that one of the comments written …

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