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Claude Levi-Strauss Dies

Claude Levi-Strauss, the French social anthropologist who influenced generations of intellectuals with his ideas on culture and said the human species would become extinct, has died. He was 100.

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For those of you for whom Levi-Strauss means denim, you should know he was one of the preeminent social anthropologists of the 20th century and whose erudite, often mind-bendingly labored studies of indigenous Brazilian tribes led to influential theories examining human behavior and culture

Mr. Lévi-Strauss was often paired with writers Jean-Paul Sartre and André Malraux as the towering French intellectuals of the last century. He said his life's work was "an attempt to show that there are laws of mythical thinking as strict and rigorous as you would find in the natural sciences."

He was best-known for popularizing a social science theory known as "structuralism," a philosophical method of approaching anthropology that identified behavioral codes that were crucial to the functioning of any society and that are inherent in the human mind.

For the Franophiles among us, here's Le Monde's version.

By Patricia Sullivan  |  November 3, 2009; 11:28 AM ET
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It is sad that the work of this great man elicits NO response from your readership. I'm sure in Le Monde the comments run to the hundreds, if not thousands. Face it, America, you are frigging illiterate.

Posted by: lafayette89 | November 3, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

This man is a legend in France.
His death is a terrific loss to the study of man's development in primitive societies.
I hope that here in America we can produce a good informational biography of his work and years of exploration.
It would be so interesting to get his views about the effect of all the changes that have come about with the people he studied back from the early days when he first went to work on his studies.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | November 3, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

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