Death of Claude Lévi-Strauss
COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY THE PRESIDENCY OF THE REPUBLIC
(Paris, 3 November 2009)
Claude Lévi-Strauss has died. He would have celebrated his 101st birthday at the end of November. His exploration of Brazil and the missions he carried out there led him to his doctoral thesis and made him one of the greatest ethnologists of all time. As he himself said, the Brazil adventure was the experience of his life.
A committed academic, he left France during the Second World War because of the Vichy regime’s racial laws and joined the Free French Forces.
Recently he had expressed great concern about the disappearance of many living animal and plant species, and wondered about the evolution of the world and the impact of man’s activities on the planet.
As he had said to President Sarkozy, who had visited him in November 2008 for his 100th birthday, the comparative study of human societies allowed different historical stages of their evolution to be seen simultaneously.
President Sarkozy pays tribute to the tireless humanist, the inquisitive academic, always in search of new knowledge, the man free of any sectarianism or indoctrination that Claude Lévi-Strauss embodied. He salutes the memory of a very great scientist, always open to the world, who founded modern anthropology and raised the reputation of French human and social sciences to the highest level.