Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Totemism” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  173 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews

From the back cover: "This work is significant not only for students of anthropology but for students of philosophy and psychology as well. The distinguished anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss examines here the great variety of beliefs encompassed by totemism, the attacks to which it has been subject, and the constant attempts to restore useful meaning to it. His account d

Paperback, First English translation, 128 pages
Published June 1st 1971 by Beacon Press (first published 1962)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Totemism, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Totemism

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 497)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 09, 2010 Rich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everything I'm going to say in this review would be picked apart by Levi Strauss because he's very sharp. What I'm saying in this review wouldn't satisfy him or an expert on him so take it all with skepticism. This review is also an unedited mess.

Most of this book is a critique of other philosophers and anthropologists who study totemism. Most of the basis of what Levi Stauss says comes from an iteration of what someone else said. It is important to realize that Levi Strauss wrote this book with
Aug 12, 2012 Conor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-non_fiction
Unless you've done some reading on Totemism, this probably won't be an enjoyable read. Unlike some of his other stuff, where he starts fresh and brings in other works much later, this one is deep in the texts of early 1900s Anthropology. Expect to need to be familiar with Durkheim, "Papa" Boaz, Evans Prichard, and a host of members from the colorful cast that was the British school of Structuralism.

Hell, I was prone to like liking this as a fan of Levi-Strauss, but I didn't really get friendly w
Jul 16, 2014 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's funny the kinds of things you turn up when you dig through your physical bookshelves-- this is a book I bought, it's probably close to twenty years ago now, and never read. But since I read Freud's Totem and Taboo, I thought I'd give this one a shot.

For me, it's primarily interesting as a way to set up Derrida's argument in his "Structure and Sign" essay. The argument L-S is making, I think, is that totemism, which sure feels "natural" is bound up in exogamy (that is, the incest taboo) whic
Anthony Buckley
A seminal work. The topic is ostensibly totemism, but more profoundly, Levi-Strauss unveils an entire methodology, showing, inter alia, how metaphor organizes social organization.
Michael sinkofcabbages
no i did not have to read this for a class. I think for such a seminal Author and for how short the book is; everyone should read this book. I know that its isnt everyons cup of tea, but there are so many things to take from this. Just for a different point of sight is worth it enough. Let alone how people view in-animate objects in thier lives. Just the whole value and power of the use of "masks" can have you thinking for days on how this applies to modern cultural "masks".
Give it a try, youll
Данило Судин
Книжка, яка буде цікава лише етнологам/антропологам, адже в ній автор розглядає різноманітні теорії тотемізму. Причому сама книга є лише "негативною" теорією тотемізму: автор послідовно критикує всі попередні погляди на тотемізм, але власної теорії не викладає. Це буде зроблено в іншій книгі - Myśl nieoswojona.

Тому в цій книзі немає того, що можна було б очікувати: методології структуралізму до вивчення соціальних відносин (на приклад тотемізму).
Oct 26, 2011 Anna rated it liked it
I can't really give it any more than three stars for the basic reason that I didn't take it all in. I read it all, but I can't remember most of it, as is the case with most of the things I have to read for uni >_>'. What I read and understand, I found interesting and enjoyed reading. But I think before I can decide whether to give it more than 3 stars or not, I'd need to re-read it, which I'm planning on doing (someday).
Sofia Valencia
Sofia Valencia is currently reading it
Sep 25, 2016
Adriana marked it as to-read
Sep 24, 2016
Colum marked it as to-read
Sep 19, 2016
Georgi Boychev
Georgi Boychev marked it as to-read
Sep 18, 2016
Dasha marked it as to-read
Sep 19, 2016
Georgia marked it as to-read
Sep 15, 2016
Christopher Pratt
Christopher Pratt is currently reading it
Sep 11, 2016
Andrés marked it as to-read
Sep 11, 2016
Andrew marked it as to-read
Sep 10, 2016
Jeremy Lefort-Besnard
Jeremy Lefort-Besnard marked it as to-read
Sep 08, 2016
Allison Mickel
Allison Mickel marked it as to-read
Sep 02, 2016
Yu Shaun
Yu Shaun is currently reading it
Aug 29, 2016
Nadia marked it as to-read
Aug 16, 2016
Willian Busch
Willian Busch marked it as to-read
Aug 10, 2016
Steven marked it as to-read
Aug 10, 2016
Quinten Collier
Quinten Collier marked it as to-read
Aug 07, 2016
Yvonne rated it really liked it
Aug 04, 2016
Jeannienovack marked it as to-read
Jul 31, 2016
Erwin Hujecek
Erwin Hujecek rated it liked it
Jul 22, 2016
Zarja marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2016
Nika Kováčová
Nika Kováčová marked it as to-read
Jul 14, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 16 17 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Forest of Symbols: Aspects Of Ndembu Ritual
  • Natural Symbols: Explorations in Cosmology
  • The Rites of Passage
  • The Western Illusion of Human Nature: With Reflections on the Long History of Hierarchy, Equality and the Sublimation of Anarchy in the West, and Comparative Notes on Other Conceptions of the Human Condition
  • Patterns of Culture
  • The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies
  • The Sexual Life of Savages
  • Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and Its Implications
  • Anthropology as Cultural Critique: An Experimental Moment in the Human Sciences
  • Local Knowledge: Further Essays In Interpretive Anthropology
  • Cultural Materialism
  • Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic Among the Azande
  • The Myth of the Eternal Return or Cosmos and History
  • Anthropology and Modern Life
  • Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography
  • A History of Archaeological Thought
  • Ritual: Perspectives And Dimensions
  • Society Against the State: Essays in Political Anthropology
Claude Lévi-Strauss was a French anthropologist, well-known for his development of structural anthropology. He was born in Belgium to French parents who were living in Brussels at the time, but he grew up in Paris. His father was an artist, and a member of an intellectual French Jewish family. Lévi-Strauss studied at the University of Paris. From 1935-9 he was Professor at the University of Sao Pa ...more
More about Claude Lévi-Strauss...

Share This Book