Anthropologist Levi-Strauss Dead at 100

French ethnologist introduced structuralist theory
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 3, 2009 1:11 PM CST
Claude Levi-Strauss in 1967.   (AP Photo, HO)

(Newser) – Claude Levi-Strauss, widely considered the father of modern anthropology for work that included theories about commonalities between tribal and industrial societies, has died. He was 100. The French intellectual was regarded as having reshaped the field of anthropology, introducing structuralism—concepts about common patterns of behavior and thought, especially myths, in a wide range of human societies.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner praised his emphasis on a dialogue between cultures and said that France had lost a "visionary." President Nicolas Sarkozy honored the "indefatigable humanist." Born on Nov. 28, 1908, in Brussels, Belgium, Levi-Strauss was the son of French parents of Jewish origin. He left Vichy France during during World War II and joined the Free French Forces. During his six-decade career, Levi-Strauss authored literary and anthropological classics including Tristes Tropiques, The Savage Mind, and The Raw and the Cooked.