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Claude Lévi-Strauss

WithJoyce Appleby, Elizabeth Covington, David Hoyt, Michael Latham, Allison Sneider

French anthropologist Lévi-Strauss was widely held to have established ethnography as a proper science through the importation of the methods then current in linguistics during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Calling his field “structural anthropology” after the structural linguistics developed by specialists working in Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union, Lévi-Strauss brought the study of meaning as it had evolved in the Saussurian tradition into the study of human culture, and of mythology in particular. Analysis of meaning in culture, as opposed to causality, came to be a defining feature of a broader, interdisciplinary “structuralism” that gained popularity in the 1960% and which is often considered one of the first major steps in what is known as “the linguistic turn,” or the increasing emphasis on the importance of language to the study of the social sciences and humanities.