The Savage Mind
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The Savage Mind (Nature of Human Society)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  757 ratings  ·  25 reviews
"Every word, like a sacred object, has its place. No précis is possible. This extraordinary book must be read."—Edmund Carpenter, New York Times Book Review

"No outline is possible; I can only say that reading this book is a most exciting intellectual exercise in which dialectic, wit, and imagination combine to stimulate and provoke at every page."—Edmund Leach, Man

"Lévi-...more
Paperback, 310 pages
Published September 15th 1968 by University of Chicago Press (first published 1962)
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Jason Williams
Okay, first of all, these French guys have a way of talking about everything-and-nothing at the same time. From Braudel to Saussure to Barthes to Foucault to Mouffe to Derrida to Lacan to Deleuze and Guattari (and yes, Sartre), they have insisted on describing the deep structures (mentalities, langue, semiotics, microphysics of power, overdetermination, differance, etc) that underlie the petty details of history. Levi-Strauss deserves mention as part of this group. Along with Braudel, Levi-Strau...more
Yann
Passionant mais un peu difficile à digérer complètement. L’intérêt que soulève l'ethnologie est immense mais l'ampleur de la tache de Levy Strauss qui embrasse un sujet particulièrement vaste fait que l'esprit se perd parfois en essayant le suivre. Aurait il pu utiliser un peu moins de jargon philosophique et linguistique, serrer un peu plus ses raisonnements ? Son approche qui consiste à essayer de trouver ce qui unifie la pensée des êtres humains malgré les variations observées est très sympat...more
Linda Robinson
A difficult book to get through, as I needed to make sure I understood what he was saying. There are many intriguing thoughts nestled among the scientific reportings. It would be a great adventure to do an in-depth comparison of Levi-Strauss and Mead, but that study will have to wait for a couple lifetimes down the road unfortunately.
Sara
intensely complex and dense. but, once you start to get past the bricoleur and Levi-Strauss's heavy French-ness, its definitely something to think about. Good discussion of classification and the human mind and critique of Sartres.
Josephine Ensign
I mainly read this book to understand Levi-Stauss' use of the term 'bricoleur'-- often translated as 'tinkerer.' Levi-Strauss defines bricoleur as someone who differs from a scientist and who "makes do with whatever is at hand." He states that raw or naive art shows the "mytho-poetical nature of bricolage" and that "art lies half-way between scientific knowledge and mythical or magical thought." This intrigues me as I seek to understand (and craft) the so-called 'lyric essay,'which to me is a ty...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in June 2001.

Many books that, like The Savage Mind, go on to become influential on the way that people think, have at their time of writing two purposes, of which one only ensures their survival. The immediate cause of the genesis of such a book is to make a specific point or answer some then current school of thought; in this case, Lévi-Strauss wanted to counter some ideas about totemism in anthropology. This first purpose then suggests a more general thesis...more
Christy
I had forgotten just how seminal Levi-Strauss was to literary and critical social theory- which seems to be what's left of Western philosophy- until I read this. Whether or not his systems approach is right in all its details for traditional societies is impossible for me to say. But his major contribution to anthropology- to have basically shredded its colonialist presuppositions by demonstrating that traditional peoples' way of thinking was not "primitive" in its relationship to logic and scie...more
Alex
Totemism is dead! Take that, nineteenth-century armchair anthropology! What edifice shall we build upon its scattered remains? This movement would later be called Edificism, which would be followed by Post-Edificism.

Fred and Ben Savage take you on a tour the intimate world they created through sheer cognitive willpower. Today, we are all scientists, and we are all savages.

Don't miss a WORD of these savage delights!

* The French national pasttime, bricolage! Turns out the human habit is hard-wired...more
Patrick
Pretty interesting, if quite long-winded about some of the arguments. Some strong ideas for his time seem obvious and belabored now (e.g., taxonomic variants tend to share leaves and vary on structure, and ontology is point-of-view). Interesting to me is that just as he is tearing down cultural centrism, he also demonstrates startling hubris in some conclusions. Nevertheless, worth slogging through.
Tina Estep
This is probably one of the most difficult books to read of his. Once one is able to accomplish getting through it, it is an amazing book! It is one of my favorite books and I consistently refer back to it. Every time I read it, I always discover something that I missed before.
Sam
Apr 16, 2010 Sam rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: academic
Instead of reading this long and brutal book, read Rumi's beautiful first poem in Divane Shams. What Rumi said in 10 lines so beautifully and elegantly 800 years ago, this French dude is trying to say in this long and horribly written book: categories are arbitrary.
Marwen
J'avoue que j'ai pas tout à fait assimilé toutes les idées dans ce livre. Ceci vient du fait qu'il s'agit d'un livre trop "technique" et non destiné au commun des mortels. Un livre précieux, à relire encore une fois...
Matt Marro
May 01, 2009 Matt Marro marked it as to-read
Claude Levi-Strauss; main proponent of structuralism. I've heard this is a good introduction. My problem is that if it can be considered a mainstream, or "legitimate," philosophical school I want to know about it.
Jolene
Dec 09, 2009 Jolene rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of anthropolgy.
Shelves: partially-eaten
Ended on Page. 15, got distracted by other things. It's a good book to savor slowly. I borrowed it from the library and someone else was requesting it so I had to return it.
Rick
Lévi-Strauss's SAVAGE MIND is a longstanding classic of structural anthropology and needs no further comment from me.
David
Dec 28, 2007 David is currently reading it
Recommends it for: Civilized minds
This is a really bizarre encounter for me. So dry, yet so fast-paced. What an impassioned genius.
AC
Essential reading (regardless of one's view of L.-S.) - it is Claude L.-S.'s masterpiece
Grant Overend
Intruiging, erudite and influential. Yet somewhat tedious to read.
Dominique Pierre Batiste
Useful for any study with specific attention to Cultural Forms
Olivier
Harder to read than "Tristes tropiques" but interesting.
Jennifermail.com
كتاب رائع ومهم جدابالنسبة للعلوم الانسانية
Caroline
who are you calling savage? seriously.
Robert
Had to read this for class
Tbv
I need help with this.
Michael Mcdonough
Michael Mcdonough marked it as to-read
Jul 27, 2014
Anon
Anon marked it as to-read
Jul 27, 2014
Diane
Diane marked it as to-read
Jul 26, 2014
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Claude Lévi-Strauss was a French anthropologist, well-known for his development of structural anthropology. He was born on November 28, 1908 in Belgium as the son of 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 Paulo making several expeditions to central Brazil. Between 1942-1...more
More about Claude Lévi-Strauss...
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