Claude Lévi-Strauss a problém tzv. synchronického času

Jiří Šubrt


Claude Lévi-Strauss and the Problem of "Synchronic Time"
In societies described as “cold” by Claude Lévi-Strauss, the historical dimension is coded into myths, traditions and rituals. Lévi-Strauss says that ritual is an “instrument for the destruction of time”. The key to the author’s idea of the opposition of synchronicity and diachronicity is found in his work The Savage Mind, in which he talks about a never-ending struggle between these two which initiates totemic thinking. In current sociology, Levi-Strauss’ concept of reversible time is utilised by Anthony Giddens, who adapts it in his structuration theory. However the concept of synchronous (structuralist) reversible time is simultaneously the subject of a critique from the perspectives of cultural anthropology (Alfred Gell) and sociology (Barbara Adam). At the article’s conclusion, the argument is made that when Lévi-Strauss talks about cold societies, which tend to banish history from the consciousness, it doesn’t mean that he is trying to over rule the laws of logic or physics (as he is accused by Gell) but at tempting to see the world through the eyes of a specific type of society and to understand time from the perspective of a “native”.


structuralism; time; synchronicity/diachronicity; cold/hot societies; reversible/irreversible; ritual

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TEORIE VĚDY / THEORY OF SCIENCE – journal for interdisciplinary studies of science is published twice a year by the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Centre for Science, Technology, and Society Studies). ISSN 1210-0250 (Print) ISSN 1804-6347 (Online) MK ČR E 18677 web: /// email: