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Françoise Héritier

Male/Female The Thought Process of Difference

Françoise Héritier, professor at the Collège de France, Director of the laboratory of Social Anthropology, has furthered Lévi-Strauss's work on the structures of kin. In Masculin / Féminin, she goes from matrimonial structures to their underlying symbolic representations. She shows how every human thought, originating from whatever culture, constructs itself upon two basic concepts: what is similar and what is different, and how these concepts themselves originate from the difference between the sexes. The way in which each culture explains this difference determines its conception of the world, its sociology, as well as its cosmology.For Françoise Héritier, the feminist struggle is a long and exacting job, because it is our whole intellectual structure, elaborated during thousands of years, which must be modified so that gender relations can be thought of differently.