Main content


Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the work of French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss.

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the work of the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss. One of twentieth-century France's most celebrated intellectuals, Lévi-Strauss attempted to show in his work that thought processes were a feature universal to humans, whether they lived in tribal rainforest societies or in the rich intellectual life of Paris. During the 1930s he studied native Brazilian tribes in the Amazonian jungle, but for most of his long career he preferred the study to the field. He was the leading exponent of structuralism, a school of thought which was influential for decades, and was involved in a famous debate with his friend Jean-Paul Sartre, who resisted many of his ideas. His books about the nature of myth, human thought and kinship are now seen as some of the most important anthropological texts written in the twentieth century.


Adam Kuper
Visiting Professor of Anthropology at Boston University

Christina Howells
Professor of French at Oxford University

Vincent Debaene
Associate Professor of French Literature at Columbia University

Producer: Thomas Morris.

Available now

42 minutes

Last on

Thu 23 May 2013 21:30


Adam Kuper at Boston University


Christina Howells at Oxford University


Vincent Debaene at Columbia University


Claude Lévi-Strauss - Wikipedia





Edmund Leach, Claude Lévi-Strauss (University of Chicago Press, 1989)


Claude Lévi-Strauss, Myth and Meaning: Cracking the Code of Culture (Schocken Books, 1995)


Claude Lévi-Strauss, Structural Anthropology (Basic Books, 1974)


Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Savage Mind (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1994)


Claude Lévi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques (Penguin Books, 1992)


Claude Lévi-Strauss and Didier Eribon, Conversations with Claude Lévi-Strauss (University of Chicago Press, 1991)


Patrick Wilcken, Claude Lévi-Strauss: The Father of Modern Anthropology (Penguin Books, 2012)


Boris Wiseman, Introducing Lévi-Strauss and Structural Anthropology (Icon Books Ltd, 2000)


Boris Wiseman (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Lévi-Strauss (Cambridge University Press, 2009)



Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Adam Kuper
Interviewed Guest Christina Howells
Interviewed Guest Vincent Debaene
Producer Thomas Morris


  • Thu 23 May 2013 09:00
  • Thu 23 May 2013 21:30

Featured in...

In Our Time podcasts

In Our Time podcasts

Every episode of In Our Time is available to download.

The In Our Time Listeners' Top 10

The In Our Time Listeners' Top 10

If you’re new to In Our Time, this is a good place to start.

Arts and Ideas podcast

Arts and Ideas podcast

Download the best of Radio 3's Free Thinking programme.