Before Lévi-Strauss, anthropology was merely empirical and mostly interested in identifying different cultures’ contextual framework. Lévi-Strauss is not just interested in understanding and explaining different cultures from within. He wants to figure out how humans think fundamentally and from there to understand cultural diversity. Lévi-Strauss is the first anthropologist to connect cultural diversity with the unity of humans, that is to say, with human nature. All humans do not think the same, neither do they unite in the same way, but they compose in the same way. They have the same propensity to create representations and institutions, the same desire to bring things into order. The human mind universally processes fundamental intellectual operations upon the perceived world. Those operations build on what the human senses and mind make possible.
Book preface, encycl. entry
International Encyclopædia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2015
Anthropology; Creativity; Cultural diversity; Culture; Determinism; Ecology; Ethnology; Human mind; Humanism; Incest taboo; Kinship (Rules of); Langauge; Linguistics; Multiculturalism; Myth; Mythology; Racism; Relativism; Religion; Social anthropology; Social change; Society; Structuralism; Taboo; Universalism