Claude Levi-Strauss, a French anthropologist, was the founder of structural anthropology. This theoretical position assumes that there are structural propensities in the human mind that lead unconsciously toward categorization of physical and social objects, hence such book titles as The Raw and the Cooked (1964) and such expositions of his work by others as The Unconscious in Culture and Elementary Structures Reconsidered. According to Levi-Strauss, the models of society that scholars create are often dual in nature:status-contract (Maine): Gemeinschaft-Gesellschaft (Tonnies); mechanical-organic solidarity (Durkheim); folk-urban (Redfield); universalism-particularism (Parsons); and local-cosmopolitan (Merton). Levi-Strauss's writings---some of which have been described by Clifford Geertz as "theoretical treatises set out as travelogues"---have been enormously influential throughout the scholarly world. George Steiner has described him, along with Freud (see also Vol. 5) and Marx (see also Vol. 4), as one of the major architects of the thought of our times. Levi-Strauss died October 30, 2009.
Patrick Wilcken grew up in Sydney and studied at Goldsmiths College and the Institute of Latin American Studies in London. He has contributed Brazil-related reviews and features to the Times Literary Supplement and the Guardian. He is the author of Empire Adrift: He has spent lengthy periods in Rio de Janeiro and now lives in London with his wife and child.