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Beyond the Juxtaposition of Nature and Culture

Lawrence Krader, Interdisciplinarity, and the Concept of the Human Being


Edited By Cyril Levitt and Sabine Sander

The essays contained in Beyond the Juxtaposition of Nature and Culture represent an attempt by scholars from Canada, Germany, and Mexico to come to grips with the innovative work of the American philosopher and anthropologist Lawrence Krader who has proposed nothing less than a new theory of nature, according to which there are at least three different orders—the material-biotic, the quantum, and the human—which differ from one another according to their different configurations of space-time, and which cannot be reduced the one to the others. Each author takes up Krader’s theory in relation to its impact on their own discipline: sociology, anthropology, the study of myth, the theory of labor and value, economics, linguistics, and aesthetics. The question of how nature and culture can be integrated within a theoretical framework which links them in difference and nexus and allows each their non-reductive space leads each of the contributors to move in their thinking beyond the old dualisms of materialism and idealism, fact and value, nature and culture.

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Mayán Cervantes is professor emeritus at the Dirección de Etnología y Antropología Social del Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, in Mexico. As a student, Mayán collaborated with Krader and maintained a close working relationship with him for many years. From 1980 to 1982, she worked as his assistant at the Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) in Mexico City. From 1991 to 1993, she studied with Krader in Berlin while writing her doctoral thesis. In 1995, she translated his Myth and Ideology into Spanish (published in 2003 by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia). She continued her studies at the National Institute of Anthropology and History in Mexico City, specializing in the area of food and eating. From 2010 to 2012, she served as president of the Academia Mexicana de Ciencias Antropológicas. In 2015–2016, she coordinated a seminar on climate change and cultural processes.

Michelle Goldenberg is in her second year of study in the doctoral program in sociology at McMaster University. Under the guidance and supervision of Neil McLaughlin, she is working towards a Ph.D. in theory in sociology. Her research interests include Karl Marx and theories of Marxism, the sociology of intellectuals, the history of sociology, and the history of ideas and theory. She took an interest in Krader’s book Labor and Value and presents a related chapter, in which she argued, following Krader, that scientific work can be...

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