Beyond Nature and Culture

Written by Philippe Descola | Translated by Janet Lloyd | June 1, 2013
Beyond Nature and Culture, The University of Chicago Press, June 2013
Successor to Claude Lévi-Strauss at the Collège de France, Philippe Descola has become one of the most important anthropologists working today, and Beyond Nature and Culture has been a major influence in European intellectual life since its French publication in 2005. Here, finally, it is brought to English-language readers. At its heart is a question central to both anthropology and philosophy: what is the relationship between nature and culture?
 
Culture —as a collective human making, of art, language, and so forth— is often seen as essentially different than nature, which is portrayed as a collective of the nonhuman world, of plants, animals, geology, and natural forces. Descola shows this essential difference to be, however, not only a specifically Western notion, but also a very recent one. Drawing on ethnographic examples from around the world and theoretical understandings from cognitive science, structural analysis, and phenomenology, he formulates a sophisticated new framework, the “four ontologies”— animism, totemism, naturalism, and analogism—to account for all the ways we relate ourselves to nature. By thinking beyond nature and culture as a simple dichotomy, Descola offers nothing short of a fundamental reformulation by which anthropologists and philosophers can see the world afresh.
 

More info: University of Chicago Press

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
Sign in or register to post comments.

More new titles

new titles

Anthropology Confronts the Problems of the Modern World

Anthropology Confronts the Problems of the Modern World is the first English translation of a series of lectures Claude Lévi-Strauss delivered in Tokyo in 1986. Written with an eye toward the future as his own distinguished career was drawing to a close, this volume presents a synthesis of the author’s major ideas about structural anthropology, a field he helped establish. Critiquing insights of his earlier writings on the relationship between race, history, and civilization, Lévi-Strauss revisits the social issues that never ceased to fascinate him.
new titles

Ariol: Where's Petula?

ARiOL is your average everyday donkey. He lives in the suburbs with his mom and dad. His best friend is a pig. He’s in love with a beautiful cow in his class. His teacher is a dog. His gym teacher is a huge rooster. In short, ARiOL is just like you and me!
new titles

The Bloody Hand

A masterpiece of French war literature, complete and unabridged for the first time in English.