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By Claude Lévi-Strauss, Jane Marie Todd, Maurice Olender

Anthropology Confronts the issues of the trendy World is the 1st English translation of a chain of lectures Claude Lévi-Strauss brought in Tokyo in 1986. Written with an eye fixed towards the long run as his personal distinct occupation used to be drawing to a detailed, this quantity offers a synthesis of the author’s significant rules approximately structural anthropology, a box he helped determine. Critiquing insights of his previous writings at the dating among race, heritage, and civilization, Lévi-Strauss revisits the social concerns that by no means ceased to fascinate him.

He starts off with the remark that the cultural supremacy loved via the West for over centuries is at an finish. international wars and genocides within the 20th century have fatally undermined Western religion in humanity’s development via medical growth. Anthropology, although, should be the automobile of a brand new “democratic humanism,” broadening conventional frameworks that experience constrained cross-cultural understandings of the human , and offering a foundation for inquiries into what different civilizations, comparable to these of Asia, can teach.

Surveying an international close to the twenty-first century, Lévi-Strauss assesses the various dilemmas of cultural and ethical relativism a globalized society faces—ethical dimensions of financial inequality, the increase of other types of spiritual fundamentalism, the promise and peril of genetic and reproductive engineering. A laboratory of suggestion commencing onto the longer term, Anthropology Confronts the issues of the fashionable World is a vital addition to the canon of 1 of the twentieth-century’s such a lot influential theorists.

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Extra resources for Anthropology Confronts the Problems of the Modern World

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That remoteness reduces our perception to a few essential outlines. I would readily say that, in the social and human sciences as a whole, the anthropologist occupies a place comparable to that falling to the astronomer in the physical and natural sci18 THE END OF THE W EST ’ S C ULTURAL SUPRE M A C Y ences. Indeed, astronomy was able to constitute itself as a science from earliest antiquity only because, in the absence of any sciÂ�enÂ�tific method (which did not yet exist), the distance of the heavenly bodies allowed for a simÂ�pliÂ�fied view of them.

Chamberlain, a professor at the University of Tokyo and a shrewd observer of Japanese life and culture, was an eminent philologist. In his famous book Things Japanese, he recÂ�orded that fact, along with several others, under the rubric “Topsy-Â�turvidom,” as an oddity to which he attached no particular sigÂ�nifiÂ� 23 THE END OF THE W EST ’ S C ULTURAL SUPRE M A C Y cance. In short, he went no further than Herodotus, who remarked, more than twenty-Â�four centuries ago, that, when compared to his Greek compaÂ�triÂ�ots, the ancient Egyptians did evÂ�eryÂ�thing backwards.

From a psychological and moral point of view, it 50 THREE G REAT C ONTE M PORARY PROBLE M S seems that the essential question is one of transparency. Must sperm donors, egg donors, and surrogates be anonymous, or can the social parents, and possibly the child herself, know the identity of those involved? Sweden has opted against anonymity and Eng�land is tending in the same direction, whereas in France, public opinion and the law are taking the opposite tack. But even countries that allow transparency seem to agree on the need to separate repro� duction from sexuality, and even, as it were, from sensuality.

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