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Calogeras, R.C. (1973). Lévi-Strauss and Freud: Their “Structural” Approaches to Myths. Am. Imago, 30(1):57-79.

(1973). American Imago, 30(1):57-79

Lévi-Strauss and Freud: Their “Structural” Approaches to Myths

Roy C. Calogeras, Ph.D.

Claude Lévi-Strauss, the eminent French anthropologist and persuasive advocate for a linguistic model in the study of cultural phenomena, has approached the study of myth by what he calls “structural analysis.” By this, he means an examination of the myth based on the structural dimensions of its language—that is, the analysis of the phonological contrasts and correlations which he holds provides the basis for reducing a large number of linguistic categories to an underlying “infrastructure.” This infrastructure, along with his strategy of dialectic and Cartesian modes of logical analysis, constitute the code or model through which the “unconsciousstructure and meaning of the myth can be found.

At first view, this would seem to be diametrically opposed to the psychoanalytic approach to the understanding of the thought-structure of the myth. However, on careful examination, there appear to be close parallels between the two (even a sort of congruence in part)—especially if we pursue a comparison of their approaches to the analyzing of myths on the one proposed by Lévi-Strauss, viz. the structural Level. In the discussion of Lévi-Strauss'and Freud's “structural” approaches to myths, the following topics will be covered in comparative fashion: assumptions and conceptions, the Oedipus myth, the Asidwal myth.

Assumptions

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