“The Wellcome exhibition starts with a quote from Mary Douglas, the great social anthropologist who wrote Purity and Danger. Dirt she defined as "matter out of place". She remains a key thinker, prefiguring many of the bigger, better known French structuralists. In analysing taboos about the pure and the impure, the sacred and the profane, … Continue reading Dirt – is it ‘matter out of place’?
Tag: Purity and Danger
BP Oil Spill – why we care
Behavioural psychologist Dan Ariely’s interesting website has a question about why we seem to care so much about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, when we don’t seem to care as much about other big environmental disasters such as the ongoing destruction of the Amazonian rainforest. Some good points are raised, including some fairly obvious … Continue reading BP Oil Spill – why we care
Don’t stop believing – purity, danger and Glee
Germ-Free Adolescents by Daniel Trilling in the New Statesman, looks at our ideas of purity and ritual in relation to the way the TV series Glee depicts teenagers. He makes use of the anthropologist Mary Douglas's views on dirt. Adolescents can be seen as 'matter out of place', a mixing of kinds (child/adult monster). Moving … Continue reading Don’t stop believing – purity, danger and Glee
‘I think we won’: Mary Douglas Interview
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 … Continue reading ‘I think we won’: Mary Douglas Interview