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

Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie: a life of mystery, invention and adventure ” The life of Agatha Christie was as mysterious and eventful as her fiction. This insightful, surprising and definitive graphic novel traces the life of the Queen of the Whodunit from her childhood in Torquay, through a career filled with success, drama and adventure, to her later years as “Dame Agatha”. Revealing a side to Christie that will startle and delight many readers, "Agatha" introduces us to a free-spirited and thoroughly modern woman who, among other things, enjoyed flying, travel and surfing. Centring around an episode in 1926 when Christie staged her own disappearance, "Agatha" is a fast-paced, intriguing and enlightening exploration of the twentieth century’s best-loved crime novelist.
new titles

Suite Française: Storm in June

This dramatic and stirring graphic novel, translated from the French and faithful to the spirit of Nemirovsky's story, focuses on Book 1, entitled "Storm in June", in which a disparate group of Paris citizens flees the city ahead of the advancing German troops. However, their orderly plans to escape are eclipsed by the chaos spreading across the country, and their sense of civility and well-being is replaced by a raw desire to survive.
new titles

Letter to Jimmy

Published on the 20th anniversary of James Baldwin’s death, the book is African writer Alain Mabanckou’s ode to his literary hero and an effort to place Baldwin’s life in context within the greater African diaspora. A beautiful homage to a writer who remains a major African American voice almost 27 years after his death.