Born on 28 November 1908 Claude Lévi Strauss is THE French anthropologist 😉
Lévi Strauss sought to apply the structural linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure to anthropology and argued that, akin to Saussure’s notion of linguistic value, families only acquire determinate identities through relations with one another. Thus he inverted the classical view of anthropology, putting the secondary family members first and insisting on analysing the relations between units instead of the units themselves.
Similarly, Lévi-Strauss identified myths as a type of speech through which a language could be discovered. How else, he thought, could tales so fantastical and arbitrary be so similar across cultures? Thus he sought to find the fundamental units of myth, namely, the mytheme.
Claude Lévi-Strauss (28 novembre 1908, Bruxelles) est un anthropologue, ethnologue et philosophe français. Professeur honoraire au Collège de France et membre de l’Académie française, il compte parmi les fondateurs de la pensée structuraliste.
Interview with Claude Lévi Strauss (1972) in french (!)