Patrice Bidou

The Myth of Tapir Shaman An Essay in Psychoanalytic Anthropology Publication date : November 1, 2001

This essay is an analysis of an Amazonian myth that follows the interpretive example of Lévi-Strauss. He and the author believe that myths are in fact chronicles of a time when men did not distinguish themselves from animals, when they shared the same language, instints, and goals. Civilization is what brought humanity out of this indistinct state and created a series of differences beyond the mere physical difference between men and animals, particularly those differences such as that between the sexes that was established by Françoise Héritier, an inspiration to the author, and the differences between generations, between gods and men, etc.
This is a passionate text in which one sees clearly the operation of the lévi-straussian analysis of myths and the masculine-feminine analysis of Françoise Héritier. The author brings out the psychoanalytical dimension implicit in the myths and associated with their explicitly sexual contents.

Patrice Bidou, ethnologist, is the research director at CNRS.