Implicit Meanings: Mary Douglas: Collected Works

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Psychology Press, Sep 5, 2002 - Social Science - 344 pages
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Implicit Meanings was first published to great acclaim in 1975. It includes writings on the key themes which are associated with Mary Douglas' work and which have had a major influence on anthropological thought, such as food, pollution, risk, animals and myth. The papers in this text demonstrate the importance of seeking to understand beliefs and practices that are implicit and a priori within what might seem to be alien cultures.
  

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Contents

1975
3
The Lele of the Kasai
8
Social and religious symbolism of the Lele
34
Animals in Lele religious symbolism
47
Techniques of sorcery control in Central Africa
63
Sorcery accusations unleashed
77
Looking back on the 1950s essays
95
Critical essays
99
Couvade and menstruation
170
The healing rite
180
Obituary of Godfrey Lienhardt
188
Looking back on the 1960s essays
193
Essays on the a priori
197
1975
199
Environments at risk
204
The depoliticisation of risk
218

1975
101
Pollution
106
If the Dogon
116
The meaning of myth
131
Jokes
146
Do dogs laugh?
165
Deciphering a meal
231
Selfevidence
252
Rightness of categories
284
Looking back on the 1970 essays
310
Index
314
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About the author (2002)

Born in Italy, Mary Douglas was educated at Oxford University and began her career as a civil servant in 1943. Her first field research was carried out in what was then the Belgian Congo and she taught at Oxford and the University of London before moving to the United States in 1977. Purity and Danger (1966) is an essay about the logic of pollution beliefs, suggesting that ideas about dirt and disorder outline and reinforce particular social orders. Her other essays exploring the implicit meanings of cultural symbols follow a similar Durkheimian format. Her recent interests have turned to analysis of risk behavior and cross-cultural attitudes about food and alcohol.

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