Happy 100th Birthday, Claude Levi-Strauss

And Le Nouvel Observateur marks the occasion with a great special issue on Levi-Strauss.

There is no disputing the fact that Levi-Strauss is the last of the great post-War public intellectuals that France has produced and an enormous influence on the social sciences. His structuralism revolutionized anthropology and sociology and is still considered a foundation for the social sciences. Structuralism is the first course I taught at the University of Nice in 1997 along with structural linguistics as part of a course on language and society. His analysis of myths was truly a revelation of the power of structural analysis that definitely made all other approaches seem childish. And of course, his influence on the rest of the French intellectual scene, from Foucault to Bourdieu is undeniable even as both men criticized structuralism for its underestimation of power (something that will be at the heart of the post-structuralist movement.

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