Ideology and ‘Mythic Thought’: The Structural Interpretation of Symbolic Representations
The remaining part of the substantive work of Lévi-Strauss that we have yet to consider constitutes the great bulk of his analytical work since the 1950s and may be taken in its unity as furnishing the zenith of his effort (whose outlines we have already discussed) to formulate the conceptual foundation stones and first practical results of a scientific semiotics of systems of ‘collective representations’. The ‘objects’ which occupy Lévi-Strauss’s reflection here are forms of thought within societies, and modes of action held to be governed by this thought — systems of social knowledge and of ideological representation —and it is his aim to demonstrate and interpret the internal structural articulations operative within these systems. In considering the modes of representation usually dominant in primitive social forms (magic, totemism, myth, and ritual in particular) this work falls firmly within the traditional contribution of ‘symbolic anthropology’ to the examinations usually broadly referred to as the ‘sociology of knowledge and ideology’: following Durkheim, Mauss, Malinowski, et al.1
KeywordsSocial Theory Narrative Text Primitive Society Primitive Representation Ideological System
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