By Claude Lévi-Strauss
Anthropology Confronts the issues of the trendy World is the 1st English translation of a sequence of lectures Claude Lévi-Strauss added in Tokyo in 1986. Written with an eye fixed towards the longer term as his personal exotic occupation was once drawing to an in depth, this quantity provides a synthesis of the author’s significant rules approximately structural anthropology, a box he helped determine. Critiquing insights of his prior writings at the dating among race, heritage, and civilization, Lévi-Strauss revisits the social concerns that by no means ceased to fascinate him.
He starts off with the commentary that the cultural supremacy loved by means of the West for over centuries is at an finish. international wars and genocides within the 20th century have fatally undermined Western religion in humanity’s development via medical growth. Anthropology, even if, could be the motor vehicle of a brand new “democratic humanism,” broadening conventional frameworks that experience limited cross-cultural understandings of the human situation, and supplying a foundation for inquiries into what different civilizations, comparable to these of Asia, can teach.
Surveying an international close to the twenty-first century, Lévi-Strauss assesses a number of the dilemmas of cultural and ethical relativism a globalized society faces—ethical dimensions of financial inequality, the increase of alternative kinds of spiritual fundamentalism, the promise and peril of genetic and reproductive engineering. A laboratory of idea commencing onto the long run, Anthropology Confronts the issues of the trendy World is a vital addition to the canon of 1 of the twentieth-century’s so much influential theorists.
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Additional resources for Anthropology Confronts the Problems of the Modern World
In realms as varied as spoken language, artisanal techniques, culinary preparation, and the history of ideas (I could add domestic architecture, thinking of the many meanings you attribute to the word uchi),* a difference, or more exactly, a system of invariant differences, reveals itself at a profound level between what, to simplify, I will call the Western soul and the Japanese soul, which can be summed up by the opposition between a centripetal and a centrifugal movement. That pattern will serve the anthro* Uchi means at once a house as building, the interior, the family, the intimate group, and the business in common parlance.
When an effort is made to place it in perspective, to assign it a place in the history of ideas, anthropology appears on the contrary as the most general expression and the culminating point of an intellectual and moral attitude that came into being several centuries ago and which we designate by the term humanism. Allow me to place myself for a moment within my own Western standpoint. When Renaissance Europeans rediscovered Greco-Roman antiquity, and when the Jesuits made Latin the foundation for training in their schools and universities, was that not already an anthropological initiative?
Their small numbers and their phenomenal knowledge of natural resources allow them to live in what we, no doubt, would hesitate to call abundance. And yet, as meticulous studies have demonstrated in Australia, South America, Melanesia, and Africa, two to four hours of work a day by their active members are amply sufficient to assure the subsistence of all families, including children and the elderly, those who do not yet participate in food production and those who no longer do so. What a contrast to the amount of time our contemporaries spend at the factory or the office!
Anthropology Confronts the Problems of the Modern World by Claude Lévi-Strauss