Claude Levi-Strauss

Claude Levi-Strauss is one of the key 20th century theorists in anthropology. His work greatly contributed to the discipline as a whole, as well as the development of anthropological theory.

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Levi-Strauss is a French anthropologist who is popularly considered one of the founding figures of structural anthropology. In anthropology, structuralism is a complex anthropological theory that describes the idea that all cultures have a similar, underlying structure, which helps to define cultural beliefs and behaviors. Levi-Strauss used these structural ideas to argue that each aspect of a culture can be thought of as a relationship between binary opposites—for example, light versus dark, life versus death, or large versus small.

Levi-Strauss is particularly well-known for introducing these ideas behind structural anthropology, which incited many anthropologists to further develop structuralism.

Today, structuralism is one of many theories that anthropologists use as a lens to describe and attempt to understand human life and culture. While there is extensive debate and critique whether structuralism is the best theory for anthropologists to use to guide their research, it is undoubtable that Levi-Strauss was a highly influential figure in anthropological thought.

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