Monday, May 21, 2007

Obituary: Dame Mary Douglas

"Dame Mary Douglas was one of the outstanding British social anthropologists of the latter half of the 20th century. Her books, Purity and Danger (1966) and Natural Symbols (1970), were seminal for anthropologists and were widely appreciated in other disciplines.
A Sunday Times survey of “Makers of the 20th Century” in 1991 listed Purity and Danger among the 100 most influential nonfiction works since 1945; only four women and four anthropologists made the list.
Starting as an Africanist, she branched out to cover contemporary Western society, addressing such topics as risk analysis and environmentalism, and food and consumption. Old Testament religion was another interest, first in her famous discussion of the 'abominations of Leviticus', in Purity and Danger, and latterly in studies of Numbers and Leviticus."

See the above page for the complete obituary.

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