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Why Marry Her?
Society and Symbolic Structures


Part of Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology

  • Date Published: November 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521040723

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About the Authors
  • This collection of essays on the themes of social organization, kinship and religion provides an excellent guide for English-speaking scholars to the understanding of French structuralist thought. In his introduction Luc de Heusch, a distinguished Belgian anthropologist, recalls his first contact with colonial Africa in the Belgian Congo in 1953–4. In Part I, conscious of the difference between French anthropology and the British tradition, he pursues a friendly dialogue with Mary Douglas, enters into a polemic with Rodney Needham concerning kinship structures, and discusses structural change with Edmund Leach. In Part II the author is concerned with the magico-religious field and proposes an original theory of symbolic systems elaborated round the trance. Upon publication, this was the first time that Luc de Heusch's important book Pourquoi l'épouser? (Editions Gallimard, 1971) had appeared in English. The theoretical essays it contains were revised by the author and a further essay was added, together with a new introduction and addenda in the form of theoretical discussions of two of the illustrative case studies.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521040723
    • length: 228 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.344kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: travel memories
    Part I. Structure and Social Praxis:
    1. A defence and illustration of the structures of kinship
    2. Social structure and praxis among the Lele of the Kasai
    Postscript: horizontal and vertical exchanges
    3. The debt of the maternal uncle: contribution to the study of complex structures of kinship
    Postscript: the Omaha system
    4. Structure and history: views on the Kachin
    Part II. Religion:
    5. Possession and shamanism
    6. The madness of the gods and the reason of men

  • Author

    Luc de Heusch


    Janet Lloyd

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