Well Levi Strauss is dead which is sad for him and his family though he was lucky in that he had a long life. His "Savage Minds" stands out in my mind as his greatest contribution to Social Anthropology. Indeed I classify it as one of my twenty most important books of the twentieth century. If anything he was a brilliant writer. Levi-Strauss comes from an era when social anthropologists - though he never really carried out much fieldwork, felt they could prescribe with impunity. Thankfully those days are all but behind us with other modernist conceits but his theoretical contributions lie close to unmatched. The first text I read of Levi-Strauss's was Tristes Tropiques - possibly another book that I would include in the twentieth centuries most important - not sure. I read it in French but French is not my native language and reading in English those first lines of TT - "I hate travelling and explorers. Yet here I am proposing to tell the story of my expeditions. but how long it has taken me to make up my mind to do so" hit me with his humanity - what a way to start a book. I have many favourite passages but ionee of the stand oouts from SM is"These patterns actualize possibilities whose number, though it may be very great, is not unlimited, for it is a function of the possible lay-out and balances which may be effected between bodies whose number itself is finite" (1966: 36). Its that mathematical clarity that really appealed - that aesthetic sense. We can remember Levi-Strauss as someone who helped us MOVE away from our reliance on empiricism.

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Why not move this to the already existing thread? Helps to keep stuff together.

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