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Beyond Nature and Culture

Beyond Nature and Culture (Hardback)

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Synopsis

Successor to Claude Levi-Strauss at the College 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.

Philosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesAnthropologyPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesPhilosophy TheorySocial & political philosophy Publisher: The University of Chicago Press Publication Date: 07/06/2013 ISBN-13: 9780226144450  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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Philippe Descola holds the chair of anthropology and heads the Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Sociale at the College de France. He also teaches at the Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales. Among his previous books to appear in English are In the Society of Nature and The Spears of Twilight. Janet Lloyd has translated more than seventy books from the French by authors such as Jean-Pierre Vernant, Marcel Detienne, and Philippe Descola.

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