Claude Lévi-Strauss dies at age 100

French anthropologist and ethnologist, Claude Lévi-Strauss, passed away a week ago at age 100:

Claude Lévi-Strauss, 100, Dies; Altered Western Views of the ‘Primitive’

Claude Lévi-Strauss, the French anthropologist whose revolutionary studies of what was once called “primitive man” transformed Western understanding of the nature of culture, custom and civilization, has died at 100.

His son Laurent said Mr. Lévi-Strauss died of cardiac arrest Friday at his home in Paris. His death was announced Tuesday, the same day he was buried in the village of Lignerolles, in the Côte-d’Or region southeast of Paris, where he had a country home.

A powerful thinker, Mr. Lévi-Strauss, in studying the mythologies of primitive tribes, transformed the way the 20th century came to understand civilization itself. Tribal mythologies, he argued, display remarkably subtle systems of logic, showing rational mental qualities as sophisticated as those of Western societies.

Mr. Lévi-Strauss rejected the idea that differences between societies were of no consequence, but he focused on the common aspects of humanity’s attempts to understand the world. He became the premier representative of “structuralism,” a school of thought in which universal “structures” were believed to underlie all human activity, giving shape to seemingly disparate cultures and creations. (Source: New York Times)

Okay. Now I shall admit — I thought he made jeans.

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