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

Cruel Tales from the 13th Floor

In sixteen ferocious short stories, French author Luc Lang encapsulates the brutality of everyday life. Each tale is an admixture of tragedy, comedy, ridicule, and pain. Compassion lurks somewhere, perhaps, but pity is conspicuous by its absence.
new titles

L’Amour

A man—the traveler—arrives in the seaside town of S. Thala with the intent to abandon his present, and instead finds himself abruptly reintroduced to his past. Through his subsequent interactions with “her,” the woman to whom he was briefly engaged as a young man over twenty years ago, and “him,” the man who walks and keeps watch over “her,” the traveler is soon drawn back in and acclimated to the strange timelessness and company that is S. Thala.
new titles

New York in Pyjamarama

Join our pyjama clad hero as he leaves his bedroom to see the sights of New York at night time. Dodge the traffic, be dazzled by the lights on Broadway and take in the heights of the Big Apple’s dizzying skyline.