Introduction to the Work of Marcel Mauss
Claude Levi-Strauss is one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century, a leading exponent of structuralism and a great social anthropologist. His Introduction to the Work of Marcel Mauss , originally written to preface the earliest major collection of Mauss's writings, Sociologie et Anthropologie (1950), was hailed as a seminal text by leading structuralists such as Derrida, Lacan and Barthes. This edition, the first English translation to be published, should prove invaluable to anthropologists, philologists, psychologists, and all those interested in one of the most important intellectual movements generated by the twentieth century. Levi-Strauss uses an approach combining anthropology and structural linguistics to assess Marcel Mauss's achievements and intentions arguing that Mauss - who at the time represented the mainstream of French anthropology - was in fact structuralist manque. He goes on to formulate the central tenets of structuralist thought: the belief in societies being organised on immutable and unconscious laws, this foundation then providing the basis for true scientific study; multi-discplinary methodology combining anthropology, lingusitics and psychoanalysis; and a faith that a comprehensive science of communication can be made by the application of mathematical reasoning.