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Claude dit: cent pensées sauvages

{First in an occasional series celebrating 100 years of Claude Lévi-Strauss, born 28 November 1908.}

Of course, the biological family is ubiquitous in human society.  But what confers upon kinship its socio-cultural character is not what it retains from nature, but, rather, the essential way in which it diverges from nature.  A kinship system does not consist in the objective ties of descent or consanguinity between individuals.  It exists only in human consciousness; it is an arbitrary system of representations, not the spontaneous development of a real situation.

‘Structural Analysis in Linguistics and Anthropology’

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