1908–, French anthropologist, b. Brussels, Belgium. He carried out research in Brazil from 1935 to 1939. From 1942 to 1945 he taught at the New School for Social Research, New York City, and in 1946–47 he was French cultural attaché in the United States. In 1948 he was appointed professor at the Institut d'Ethnologie, Univ. of Paris, and research associate at the National Science Research Fund, Paris. After 1959 he was professor of anthropology at the Collège de France. He is best known as the founder of structural anthropology, a theory that contends that history was shaped into a collective, fragmented structure comparable to preliterate mythology. He was elected to the French Academy in 1973. His works include The Elementary Structures of Kinship (1949, tr. 1962), Race and History (1952), Structural Anthropology (1958), Totemism (1962), From Honey to Ashes (1967), The Raw and the Cooked (1969), and The View from Afar (1985).
See studies by E. N. Hayes, ed. (1970), E. R. Leach (1970), Octavio Paz (tr. 1970), and Howard Gardner (1972).