Anthropology, Department of


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Published in THE NEBRASKA ANTHROPOLOGIST, Volume 3 (1977). Published by the Anthropology Student Group, Department of Anthropology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588


"Claude Levi-Strauss, Professor of Social Anthropology at the College de France, is, by common consent, the most distinguished exponent of this particular academic trade to be found anywhere outside the English speaking world... " (Leach 1970: 7)

With this in mind, I am still wondering how I came to be embroiled in an attempt not only to understand the multifaceted theorizing of Levi-Strauss myself, but to interpret even a portion of this wide inventory to my colleagues. There is much (the majority, perhaps) of Claude Levi-Strauss which eludes me yet. To quote Edmund Leach again, "The outstanding characteristic of his writing, whether in French or in English, is that it is difficult to understand; his sociological theories combine baffling complexity with overwhelming erudition" (Leach 1970: 8). In addition, the whole corpus of Levi-Strauss' writings is packed with plays on words, oblique references and puns. I ask that the reader bear with my tentative exploration into the mind of this enigmatic man.

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