Romantic Motives explores an issue that has been underemphasized within the historiography of anthropology. monitoring the Romantic lines within the the writings of Rousseau, Herder, Cushing, Sapir, Benedict, Redfield, Mead, Lévi-Strauss, and others, those essays express Romanticism as an enduring and recurrent tendency in the anthropological culture.
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Additional resources for Romantic Motives: Essays on Anthropological Sensibility (History of Anthropology)
He offers a selected fantasy as a template for the whole cycle of yank mythology. He baptizes it the "Oregonian singularity" and holds out the prospect that this can be the "umbilical cord," the unique "One fantasy purely" from around the Bering Sea - a dream of Romanticism fulfilled. Then he airily feedback that the full state of affairs will be "interpreted differently"; it could simply besides be a overdue synthesis, a convergence of the traditions of the continent. there isn't any method ofknowingj Levi-Strauss, the in charge student, submits to his limits (1981:605). however the moment interpretation is as significant because the first. Modernist modesty at the face of it, whereas a big transcendence of heritage through that means is played in a minor key. equally with the attract the mind and the binary tactics of neurophysiology. The materialism turns out reassuring, empirical. yet what constraints really persist with from that foundation? Is there merely analogy of shape among the neural onloff and the diagrammatic + I -? And, if that's all there's, is he asserting that's all there's? Or think about the outstanding seize of ethnography, the 112 THOMAS DE ZENGOTlTA visible admire for it; Levi-Strauss is a certifiable authority of a few type - yet now not as a fieldworker. is that this the services of The Golden Bough? Underlying the full enigma is a weird appropriation of the arbitrary signal. In modernist scholarship, in Sapir's linguistics for instance, arbitrariness yielded technical analyses in well-defined domain names. the full element was once to undergo particular criteria of validity. yet Levi-Strauss made from arbitrariness a license for his instinct. Interviewed via the recent York occasions, Levi-Strauss sighed for the 19th century "when a person like Victor Hugo may perhaps think utilizing his reflections to the entire difficulties of humanity" (12121187:4). lower than the self-discipline of his occupation, he dismisses that "unrealizable dream" and calls himself an "artisan. " yet we want now not be fooled by means of this restraint; Levi-Strauss is certainly "the truest" of the "author-writers" in anthropology (Geertz 1988:27). His has been the boldest move-through the Romantic dialectic of elusion and confirmation into fusion which understands itself as talking Being. he's sure, after all, to confess the "absolute superiority" of Western technological know-how as a "mode of information" and to denounce the "phoney actions" of the present "philosophico-literary scene" (Levi-Strauss 1981:636, 640-41). After changing a stagnant philosophy with the social sciences, he needs to subordinate them, in flip, to the precise and typical sciences. they seem to be a "shadow theater," symbols of symbols of phenomena supplying just a "prefiguration, at the partitions of the cave, of the operations ... [of] . , . the genuine gadgets of which we're analyzing the reflections" (641-43). the entire Romantic Speaker strives to utter common being - now not relativist fabrications. yet now not in a positivist relief to physics; like Hegel, Levi-Strauss unearths cause in being: "Thought, and the area which encompasses it and which it encompasses, are correlative manifestations of an analogous truth" (678).