2012年4月7日 星期六

Claude Levi-Strauss氏死去,享年100岁。






Claude Lévi-Strauss obituary

French anthropologist whose analysis of kinship and myth gave rise to structuralism as an intellectual force
French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss (n1908) in Amazonia in Brazil c. 1936
Lévi-Strauss, above, in 1936 in Brazilian Amazonia, where he undertook fieldwork, and below at the Collège de France, in Paris, in 2001. Photograph: Apic/Getty Images
The fame of Claude Lévi-Strauss, who has died aged 100, extended well beyond his own subject of anthropology. He was without doubt the anthropologist best known to non-specialists. This is mainly because he is usually considered to be the founder of the intellectual movement known as structuralism, which was to have such influence, especially in the 1970s. He was one of those French intellectuals – like Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida and Paul Ricoeur – whose influence spread to many other disciplines because they were philosophers in a much broader sense of the word than the academic philosophers of the British and American tradition.
As a result, these French writers have seemed more stimulating to some Anglo-Saxon thinkers, working in intellectually more imaginative, but perhaps less rigorous, areas such as literature, history or sociology than the home-grown product. Yet it is something of an irony that Lévi-Strauss should have been thought of in this way, as he considered himself, above all, a technical anthropologist, and he was a little surprised, if not also a little suspicious, of the enthusiasm for structuralism manifested by students of literature and others. On the other hand, it cannot be denied that he relished the literary fame that his work acquired, especially for his 1955 book Tristes Tropiques.
Lévi-Strauss was born in Brussels into a family of French artists, and followed a fairly typical career for a successful French humanities student. He attended the Lycée Janson de Sailly in Paris, and then the Sorbonne, where in 1928, at an exceptionally early age and with great success, he passed the formidable philosophy agrégation examination. He consequently became a kind of high-level school teacher in Laon, in Picardy, a type of post that was often a first step towards becoming a university teacher.
He soon became disillusioned with philosophy, however, because of what he saw as its sterile self-reference and mannerisms. He especially disliked the utilitarian and moralistic forms of philosophy dominant in France at the time. For a while he also became active in the French socialist movement but, subsequently, he seems to have lost interest in politics and was surprisingly uncommitted during the dramatic events of postwar France. Instead he became interested in anthropology, after reading the American anthropologist Robert Lowie, partly because he realised that the richness of the cultures then labelled as primitive gave the lie to the optimistic evolutionism of writers such as Auguste Comte.
As a result of this interest in anthropology he was proposed by the sociologist Célestin Bouglé as a member of a group of French academics who were being seconded to the new French-sponsored University of São Paulo in Brazil. He accepted a professorship in 1935, largely in the mistaken belief that he would be able to study the Amerindians. He did attempt to carry out a certain amount of anthropological research from there, but it was difficult, and in 1939 he resigned from the post to carry out more systematic fieldwork among the Nambikwara and other indigenous peoples of the Mato Grosso and Brazilian Amazon. Although this field work has always been considered to be rather poor by many anthropologists, I find it rather impressive given the short time he spent with the Amerindians. More importantly it confirmed him in his sympathy and respect for the culture of the indigenous peoples of South America and also in his growing scepticism towards the philosophical and artistic achievements of the literate civilisations of the Old World.
This attitude must have been confirmed by the events of the second world war. First, Lévi-Strauss was called up for a very short time and experienced the humiliation of the fall of France and the armistice, and then he was faced by the growing discrimination and persecution against Jews in Vichy France. In 1941, he managed to escape and ultimately made his way to New York, where, the next year, together with other French intellectuals, he was given a post at the New School for Social Research. There, he, the theologian Jacques Maritain and others founded a kind of Free French university, the École Libre des Hautes Études. After the war he stayed on in the US until 1948, working as cultural attaché to the French embassy in Washington. On his return to France, he held a number of increasingly important posts at institutions, including the Museé de l'Homme in Paris, where he served as assistant director (1949-50), and the École Pratique des Hautes Études, where he was director of studies in anthropology (1950-74). In 1959 he was elected to a chair of social anthropology at the Collège de France. Among many other honours he was, in 1973, awarded the Erasmus prize and elected to the French Academy.
It was during Lévi-Strauss's period in the US that "structural anthropology" became constructed. This led to what has come to be known as "structuralism" – a term used for a variety of theories both in anthropology and beyond, which, although they claim to be derived from his ideas, do not always bear much relation to his work. It is striking how, in spite of the immense respect with which he is treated, especially in France, he has no direct followers or students. Many claim and have claimed to be structuralists but it usually turns out that only a limited aspect of his thought has an influence on them, and at worst the adoption of the label "structuralist" was merely a matter of passing fashion. He is a lonely, if imposing, figure in the history of thought.
Levi-Strauss's own structuralism is a personal amalgam of a naturalist approach to the study of human beings and a philosophical attitude derived from this. The strictly scientific aspect was largely the result of the combination of two types of theoretical influences. The first has to do with his contact with American cultural anthropology, a relation that is ambiguous since it is so much "at a distance", as was to be his attitude to all other contemporary theoretical influences. Secondly, he came into contact with structural linguistics, a behaviouristic amalgam of European and American theories, and particularly the more imaginative work of Roman Jacobson, the Russian theoretician of language who was also at the New School at the time.
While in New York, Lévi-Strauss immersed himself in the great body of anthropological accounts of North and South Amerindians that early US anthropologists and linguists had been accumulating for more than a century. The data collected from the Amerindians and its complexity delighted him, and made him react permanently against reductionist explanations of culture, which implicitly denied the intellectual achievement that indigenous mythology and social thought represented. The contact with the structural linguists suggested to him an approach that could both generalise and remain true to the richness and specificity of the original material. Thus Levi-Strauss adopted the term "structural" from a very particular school of linguistics that flourished in the 1940s and 50s, which combined the influence of the Swiss, Ferdinand de Saussure, with that of the American Leonard Bloomfield.
The basis of the structural anthropology of Lévi-Strauss is the idea that the human brain systematically processes organised, that is to say structured, units of information that combine and recombine to create models that sometimes explain the world we live in, sometimes suggest imaginary alternatives, and sometimes give tools with which to operate in it. The task of the anthropologist, for Lévi-Strauss, is not to account for why a culture takes a particular form, but to understand and illustrate the principles of organisation that underlie the onward process of transformation that occurs as carriers of the culture solve problems that are either practical or purely intellectual.
For him anthropology was scientific and naturalistic, that is scientific in the way that structural linguistics had become scientific. By looking at the transformations of language that occur as new utterances are generated, by using the tools that a particular language makes available, structural linguistics was able, so Lévi-Strauss believed, to understand not only the irreducible specificities of a particular language, but also the principles that made their production possible. In this way, linguistics, as he understood it, was a branch of the humanities and a natural science that is able to connect directly with psychology and neurology.
By studying the richness of cultural forms and their continued transformations, much the same was to be achieved by anthropology, which was to be both a cognitive and a historical science. Thus, the meaning of symbols and concepts had to be studied both within the context of the working of the brain and the specificity of the historical flow of a particular culture. Anthropology was for Lévi-Strauss one of the cognitive sciences. It was to be compatible with recent discoveries concerning the working of the brain, although as time went on he seems to have given up keeping up with developments in this field. He was, however, insistent that although the cognitive could explain structure, it could not explain content.
This is the programme lying behind all of Lévi-Strauss's major works. But, in a sense, it is also a manifestation of a much more fundamental approach and mood from modern English-speaking anthropologists. In contrast to most professional anthropologists, whose work often seems contained within the controversies of their time and which lacks a general theory of human nature, Lévi-Strauss writes as though he were a naturalist from far away, observing our planet and the ecology of its different species, including the human species, with an Olympian lack of involvement.
He was thus interested in the human species in general terms but, because he knew that for 99% of its existence, humankind has consisted of small groups with very low population densities living in close interaction with a multitude of other living species, he considered the study of peoples such as the pre-contact Amazonian Indians to be far more important and relevant than the details of the short-lived modern industrialised world.
This approach led him to pay particular attention to Amerindian myths, the study of which was the subject of most of his writing since the 1960s. In particular, it is the subject of the four-volume Mythologiques (1964-71). For Lévi-Strauss, Amerindian myths are the Indian's speculation on the condition of interdependence of living things. Thus a myth about the origins of wild pigs is related to marriage rules and to another myth about the benefits of cooking.
Claude Lévi-Strauss Lévi-Strauss at the Collège de France in 2001. Photograph: Joel Robine/AFP/Getty Images This is, for him, a speculation not so much utilitarian as philosophical. Human thought is, of course, governed by the structuring capacity of the human brain but not explained by it. In this light, the myths are the record of the true history of the principal philosophical endeavour of mankind, and Lévi-Strauss not only wanted to record this endeavour, but also to join it. The myths' subject matter is his subject matter. Thus, this most aloof of intellectuals saw himself as a participant in the Amerindian dialogues he analysed without claiming any kind of precedence for himself. Because the myths are about the interrelationship of living things, it is essential for him to understand the natural history of all species in order to understand our own natural history.
Understanding, or participating, in the ecological reflection of humans such as the Amerindians is not only what he considered most important to study for himself as an anthropologist: it also coloured his values. These, from time to time, particularly towards the end of his life, he allowed himself to make public. He repeatedly expressed his distaste for the narrowness and sterility of much post-neolithic thought, and its obsession with the exploitation of other living things rather than simply reflecting on the latter's complexity and mutual relationships. As a result, he became something of a hero to certain modern ecological ideologues. For Lévi-Strauss, writing and formal education are just as likely to lead to philosophical impoverishment as to anything else.
There is also another, even more fundamental, way in which his thought seeks to rejoin that of the mythology of the Amerindians as he understands it to be. Myths have no authors. Their creation occurs imperceptibly in the process of transmission or transformation over hundreds of years and across hundreds of miles. The individual subject, the self-obsessed innovator or artist so dear to much western philosophy, had, therefore, no place for Lévi-Strauss, and indeed repelled him. He saw the glorification of individual creativity as an illusion. As he wrote in Tristes Tropiques: "the I is hateful". This perspective is particularly evident in his study of Amerindian art. This art did not involve the great individualistic self-displays of western art that he abhorred. The Amerindian artist, by contrast, tried to reproduce what others had done and, if he was innovating, he was unaware of the fact. Throughout Lévi-Strauss's work there is a clear aesthetic preference for a creativity that is distributed throughout a population and that does not wear its emotions on its sleeve.
This central philosophical tenet of his approach has often been forgotten, partly because of some subsequent writers, such as Foucault or Derrida, who although they acknowledged his influence, were bizarrely labelled as post-structuralists, as though they differed from him in this respect. They were then credited with the idea of the "death of the subject" while, in this, they simply followed in his footsteps. Yet, the philosophical implications of this position not only implicitly underlay so much of his thought, but were made quite explicit in the polemic against Sartre's glorification of individual choice, which forms the final part of Lévi-Strauss's most adventurous book, The Savage Mind (1962).
Of course, his theories have been much criticised, and few would now subscribe to them in the way that they were originally formulated, but nonetheless many anthropologists, including myself, are continually amazed and awed by the fact that, through the use of a theory that many consider flawed, or at least rather vague, Lévi-Strauss gained the most illuminating and unexpected insights in almost all fields of social and cultural anthropology.
Given his personality and, indeed, his theories, the extraordinary lionisation he received on the occasion of his 100th birthday seems ironic. It was as if the French establishment and the French state had decided that he was suddenly a major diplomatic asset. He had received drawers full of medals and prizes from all over the world and, as the international fame of its public intellectuals is the kind of thing France has always prided itself on, it made sure the birthday did not go unnoticed. Lévi-Strauss had become the last survivor of these great beasts such as Sartre, Foucault and the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu and, what was more, he was politically uncontroversial. Also, the genuine interest of the previous French president Jacques Chirac in the culture of native peoples and in the acquisition of "primitive art" encouraged this apotheosis of a person who, for the general French public represented, above all, the lure of primitive exoticism.
So, when the great date came, nearly every French magazine had his photo on the cover. President Sarkozy went to his flat to wish him a happy birthday, and the ministry of foreign affairs helped to finance seminars in his honour in places as far apart as Iceland and India. The imposing amphitheatre of the newly created collection of indigenous art at the Quai Branly museum, in Paris, was named after him. Most significant of all, a large part of his work was republished in the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade. This honour is normally reserved for dead greats such as Racine or Aristotle, whose writings are thereby placed in a kind of leather-bound bibliophilic mausoleum and printed on paper normally only used for bibles.
This treatment is significant because, as Vincent Debaene points out in a cheeky introduction to the volume, France much prefers to represent its scientists and thinkers as great literary figures, rather than celebrate what they said or discovered.
And indeed all this adulation hardly considered seriously the core of Levi-Strauss's work, the groundbreaking analysis of kinship systems that he published on his return to France in 1947 as The Elementary Structures of Kinship, consisting of a detailed study of those societies where family ties determine who people must marry, or the minute examinations of North and South American myth. All these public tributes seem to obscure his prime identity as a professional anthropologist struggling with the basic traditional questions of the discipline.
We do not know what he thought of all this, since by then he felt too ill to respond, but his often-expressed preference for the anonymous creator, which seems to accord so well with his personality, does not square with all this fuss. He hated public occasions and was a very private person. He loved to be out of step with the received "correct" view of the moment. He was uncomfortable with disciples and fled from adulation.
To the members of his team in Paris, the image he evoked above all was the nearly permanently closed doors of his study. This is not to say that he was in any way a recluse. He was secretly warm and had a delightful sense of humour. He was charming and very considerate and respectful towards whoever he was dealing with, irrespective of status. I remember him at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, on the occasion of his being given an honorary degree, listening to students telling him about what they got from his work and not allowing them to be interrupted by the French ambassador, who failed in the attempt to barge in and drag him away in the direction of more important guests. The nearest he approached discourtesy was a faint hint of irony, but on the whole he preferred to be alone, working, reading and accumulating ever more details about the lives of the native Americans whom he so admired.
He married Dina Dreyfus in 1932, Rose Marie Ullmo in 1946, and Monique Roman in 1954, and had a son by each of his second and third wives - Laurent and Matthieu. He is survived by Monique and his sons.



• Claude Lévi-Strauss, anthropologist, born 28 November 1908; died 30 October 2009



文化社會| 2009.11.05
“結構主義大師列維 - 斯特勞斯逝世

文化社会 | 2009.11.05

“结构主义大师”列维-斯特劳斯逝世

1967年的列维-斯特劳斯
Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: 1967年的列维-斯特劳斯


 在上世紀六七十年代,德國和法國的大學校園裡出現了一個流行的概念-"結構主義",這一理論認為,在研究人的思想形成的過程中,研究的主要對像不應是思想的內容,而應是其組織形式,是單個的理念之間的相互關係。而這種關係是有結構可循的,以這一結構為基礎,就可以對思想的形成進行清晰的分析。結構主義的創始人之一-法國人類學家、語言學家和哲學家克洛德·列維-斯特勞斯於11月3日去世。
1935年,一位年輕的法國哲學家接到巴西聖保羅大學發來的一份邀請。這位學者當時27歲,對技術至上的工業社會產生了厭倦。於是他接受邀請前往巴西,來到只有印第安人居住的,幾乎與西方文明隔絕的亞馬遜河流域。這裡的原住民有著怎樣的生活秩序?他們有什麼信仰?什麼對他們來說是有價值的?他們珍惜什麼又厭惡什麼?列維-斯特勞斯重點研究了印第安人的神話傳說,他在接下來的幾年裡多次深入亞馬遜叢林。
二戰期間列維-斯特勞斯大部分時間生活在紐約。此後他將自己的研究結果寫成了兩本書-1955年出版的《野性的思維》和1962年出版的《憂鬱的熱帶》。前者引起了很大反響。該書闡述了一種與西方世界思維截然不同的邏輯。在法蘭克福任教的哲學家霍內特解釋說,這是一種不太抽象的邏輯:"在上述社會中存在一種思維形式,它與我們西方現代的、文明社會的思維形式有很大的不同。因為在某種程度上它不是由一個高高在上的所謂原則來演繹事物,而是皈依到自然環境中,進而試圖分門別類地解釋自然環境,同時人們對自然有一種敬畏的距離,對環境的多樣性有深入的了解。"


列维-斯特劳斯作为语言学家对学术界产生了巨大影响Bildunterschrift: 列维-斯特劳斯作为语言学家对学术界产生了巨大影响
列維-斯特勞斯在《憂鬱的熱帶》一書中描述了他在巴西熱帶叢林中的經歷。該書帶有批判現代文明的基調,散發著懷舊的情緒。作者在那個年代就指出了環境遭破壞的問題,而原住民是環境破壞的受害者。列維-斯特勞斯認為,原住民的文化面臨消亡的威脅,而西方人還在自我優越的陶醉感中認為,這種文化是落後的。霍內特認為,列維-斯特勞斯在《憂鬱的熱帶》中試圖激發西方讀者對陌生文化的興趣和敏銳感:"總的來說他堅信,原始社會與我們的社會相比更有優勢的一點是,他們在思維中和社會實踐中對自然均衡狀態的意義有著比我們當前的社會更強烈的意識。"
列維-斯特勞斯在所謂的原始社會形態中觀察到一些在西方文明社會同樣適用的原則。例如禁止亂倫,或對相反事物的歸納-"冷與熱"、"好與壞"的區分存在於任何一個社會中,這就是列維-斯特勞斯所稱的"思維的普世原則" 從這一點來看,現代人和原始人比人們所認為的要接近得多。
自50年代起,列維-斯特勞斯生活在巴黎,成為結構主義的核心代表人物。結構主義理論在詮釋人類文化時更多地以形式,而非內容為研究對象。列維-斯特勞斯不僅作為人類學家,而且作為語言學家對學術界產生了巨大影響。在德國的大學裡,人們對列維-斯特勞斯的著作一向十分重視,直到今天,在許多人文專業科系裡,他的書都是必讀作品。
孜孜不倦的治學活動似乎有利於益壽延年。 11月3日列維-斯特勞斯在巴黎去世時,享年100歲。
作者:Kersten Knipp/叶宣
责编:石涛




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構造主義確立、レビストロース氏死去

【ロンドン=鶴原徹也】20世紀を代表する文化人類学者でフランス現代思想の「最後の巨人」だった、クロード・レビストロース氏が10月30日、仏東部リニュロール村の別荘で死去した。100歳だった。

親族による密葬を経て、同氏の著作の出版社などが3日、公表した。
1908年、ユダヤ系フランス人を両親にベルギーで生まれる。パリ大学で哲学を学ぶ。アマゾンをはじめ、南米やアジアなど世界各国でフィールド ワークを重ね、数多くの民族を研究。原初の時代は自然状態にあった人間だが、結婚が氏族間で行われるようになって社会が形成されたとし、見えない「構造」 が社会や文化を決定すると説き、「構造主義の祖」と呼ばれた。
文明論的紀行文「悲しき熱帯」や、実存主義から構造主義へ戦後思想の転換を決定づけた「野生の思考」など数多くの著書を発表し、世界的名声を確立した。
西欧が「未開」と見下す社会にも、文明社会同様の構造があり、人間は社会に則した論理に基づいて行動していると主張し、西欧の人間主義を批判し た。実存主義哲学者サルトルとの論争は特に有名。59年、仏最高の研究教育機関コレージュ・ド・フランス教授就任。73年、仏学士院会員。
フランスのサルコジ大統領は3日、「あらゆる時代を通じ、最も偉大な人類学者で、新たな知を探究し続けた」などと弔意を表明した。
(2009年11月4日12時43分 読売新聞)


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