I've been enjoying Logicomix, a graphic novel about the quest of Bertrand Russell for the logical foundations of mathematics. So it was with delight that I stumbled upon a Claude Levi-Strauss comic in the Financial Times, produced by the same team of writers and artists - Apostolos Doxiadis, Alecos Papadatos and Annie Di Donna. I'm … Continue reading Levi-Strauss for the masses?
Switching strategies: if baboons can do it, can’t we?
The work of Robert M. Sapolsky and others on the social life of baboons is interesting in many ways but here it's significant for two reasons in particular. First, I think it sheds light on what we mean when we talk about culture. Secondly, it seems to indicate something about the ability of some primates … Continue reading Switching strategies: if baboons can do it, can’t we?
#approvalmatrix – fourfold typologies make it to Twitter
Here's an older post from the Savage Minds anthropology blog about Mary Douglas's grid-group typology (the basis of the four cultures explored on this site). It's basically a mashup of that typology and an alternative scheme deriving from Pierre Bourdieu (if he wrote for the New York Magazine, that is): highbrow/lowbrow; brilliant/despicable. I like it … Continue reading #approvalmatrix – fourfold typologies make it to Twitter
Magic needs rules
Magic requires rules. Here is what anthropologist Marcel Mauss has to say: ‘Far from being the simple expression of individual emotions, magic takes every opportunity to coerce actions and locutions. Everything is fixed and becomes precisely determined. Rules and patterns are imposed. Magical formulas are muttered or sung on one note to special rhythms …Gestures … Continue reading Magic needs rules