"Savage thought, Lévi-Strauss argues, continually gathers and applies structures wherever they can be used. If scientific thought is represented by the engineer who asks a question and tries to design an optimal or complete solution, savage thought resembles the bricoleur, who constructs things using whatever materials are at hand.
One of Lévi-Strauss's many examples is the relationship between two Australian groups, the Aranda and the Arabanna. The Aranda have a complex system for intermarriages that divides all people into two groups and then four stages within each group. The system specifies where the children will live and how they will marry. The Arabanna use a different system for marriages, but somehow use the Aranda's marriage system for determining the sex and affiliation of reincarnated spirits. The structure has been borrowed and transposed, appropriated because of its ability to generate a certain economy independently of its substrate.
The Savage Mind was one of the earliest works of structural anthropology and had a large influence on the field of anthropology.
The book also played a role within the larger currents of structuralism and post-structuralism. The application of bricolage to social structure provided the inspiration forJacques Derrida's essay "Structure, Sign and Play". The idea that social structures can be transposed and recontextualized also plays a large role in Gilles Deleuze andFélix Guattari's Capitalism and Schizophrenia."
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