By Claude Lévi-Strauss, Jane Marie Todd, Maurice Olender
Anthropology Confronts the issues of the trendy World is the 1st English translation of a sequence of lectures Claude Lévi-Strauss added in Tokyo in 1986. Written with an eye fixed towards the longer term as his personal exceptional profession was once drawing to a detailed, this quantity offers a synthesis of the author’s significant rules approximately structural anthropology, a box he helped identify. Critiquing insights of his past writings at the courting among race, historical past, and civilization, Lévi-Strauss revisits the social concerns that by no means ceased to fascinate him.
He starts off with the remark that the cultural supremacy loved via the West for over centuries is at an finish. international wars and genocides within the 20th century have fatally undermined Western religion in humanity’s development via medical growth. Anthropology, although, should be the motor vehicle of a brand new “democratic humanism,” broadening conventional frameworks that experience constrained cross-cultural understandings of the human situation, and supplying a foundation for inquiries into what different civilizations, equivalent to these of Asia, can teach.
Surveying a global on the point of the twenty-first century, Lévi-Strauss assesses many of the dilemmas of cultural and ethical relativism a globalized society faces—ethical dimensions of financial inequality, the increase of alternative sorts of spiritual fundamentalism, the promise and peril of genetic and reproductive engineering. A laboratory of inspiration commencing onto the longer term, Anthropology Confronts the issues of the fashionable World is a crucial addition to the canon of 1 of the twentieth-century’s such a lot influential theorists.
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Extra info for Anthropology Confronts the Problems of the Modern World
37 THE END OF THE W EST ’ S C ULTURAL SUPRE M A C Y The soÂ�ciÂ�eÂ�ties that anthropologists study deliver lessons that deserve to be heeded, especially since these soÂ�ciÂ�eÂ�ties were able to establish a balance between humankind and the natural environment, using all sorts of rules that, as I said, we would be wrong to see as mere superstitions. We, conversely, no Â�longer know how to secure that balance. Let me take a moment to consider this point. AN OPTIMAL DIVERSITY In nineteenth-Â�century France, the philosopher Auguste Comte formulated a law of human evolution known as the three stages, according to which humanity has passed through two successive phases, religious and metaÂ�physÂ�iÂ�cal, and is on the verge of entering a third state, positive and sciÂ�enÂ�tific.
Real, postulated, or inferred, they entail rights and duties that are well deÂ�fined and different for each type of related individual. More generally, we can say that, in these soÂ�ciÂ�eÂ�ties, kinship and marriage constitute a common language capable of expressing evÂ�ery social relationship: not only familial but also economic, poÂ�litÂ�iÂ�cal, religious, and so forth. 46 THREE G REAT C ONTE M PORARY PROBLE M S SPERM DONORS, SURROGATE MOTHERS, AND SOCIAL FILIATION The first imperative of a human society is to reproduce itself, in other words, to maintain itself over time.
What exactly is at issue? It is now possible—or, for certain procedures, it will be possible in the near future—for a couple, one or both of whose members are 47 THREE G REAT C ONTE M PORARY PROBLE M S infertile, to have children through the use of various methods: arÂ�tiÂ�fiÂ�cial insemination, egg donation, the use of surrogate mothers for hire or free of cost, the freezing of embryos, in vitro fertilization with sperm from the husband or from another man and with an egg from the wife or another woman.
Anthropology Confronts the Problems of the Modern World by Claude Lévi-Strauss, Jane Marie Todd, Maurice Olender