Nov 132010

Lively review of a new biography of Claude Lévi-Strauss, but this quote was the most interesting bit because it lines up with some of the ideas I tried to get across in Elle and The Life and Times of Captain N. The new technology of writing destroys oral cultures and we somehow feel nostalgic for those lost ways of being, but to think that any one culture is essentially less alienating than another is a sentimental mistake.


Derrida showed that Lévi-Strauss’s position, far from breaking with a Eurocentric model, reproduced it. He demonstrated how the notion that the Nambikwara inhabited a different and better world, one before writing, reflected a long-held western prejudice that ignored the way in which any system of language had all the features of a writing system that Lévi-Strauss considered distinctively modern. The Amazonian enjoyed no more direct and unmediated a relationship with his surroundings than the western anthropologist…

via New Statesman – Claude Lévi-Strauss: the Poet in the Laboratory.

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