Mary Douglas, anthropologist and originator of what became grid-group cultural theory, was interviewed in 2006 by Cambridge anthropologist Alan MacFarlane. An annotated video is part of a large series of fascinating interviews he has conducted over many years. Exerpts are posted at Youtube (see below), The long version is worth watching to find out what illness Mary Douglas had when she wrote Purity and Danger. At the start of Part 2 she describes the influence of Basil Bernstein on the ideas behind Natural Symbols. She suggests that, following Bernstein, hierarchical social arrangements should perhaps be termed ‘positional’. Of her work with Aaron Wildavsky on risk she says, “I think we won”.
4 thoughts on “‘I think we won’: Mary Douglas Interview”
fascinating find, particularly the insight into the importance of having grad students to a career
Yes indeed. I recently had an email discussion with a cultural theory academic about why grid-group cultural theory hasn’t taken off in the academy as much as it might have done. Neither of us mentioned the importance of doctoral students, but it is a very significant point.