Interviews with Mary Douglas and Roland Barthes in ‘Notes on Structuralism’ section of Theory, Culture and Society (open access)

Mary Douglas on Purity and Danger: An Interview – Mike Featherstone, Bryan S. Turner

A previously unpublished 1979 interview:

This interview with Mary Douglas took place at Lancaster University in the Religious Studies Department. The main focus of the interview was her recently published book, Purity and Danger, which had already become a classic of British anthropology. The questions and answers ranged mainly over the differences between the physical body, representations of the body, the body as a classificatory system, and social constructivism. Douglas’s early academic years and the influences on her work, such as the role of Roman Catholicism in her childhood and youth, were discussed. The interview concluded with speculation about the connections between anthropology and colonialism, and how she responded to those developments.

On Narrative: An Interview with Roland Barthes – Paolo Fabbri, introduction by Monica Sassatelli, and Sunil Manghani, translated by Jon Templeman

A new translation of an interview first published in Italian in 2019

This article presents a dialogue between Roland Barthes and Paolo Fabbri, which took place on 18 December 1965 in Florence, Italy. Barthes offers an engaging account of his structuralist approach to narrative, as was later published in essay form, ‘Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narrative’, included in a special issue of Communications (Issue 8, 1966). In a cordial exchange with Fabbri, Barthes provides a more candid presentation of method than found in print, along with critical reflection of the underlying importance of the structuralist approach, as perceived at the time. The interview took place as part of a small conference on narrativity. Participants included Algirdas Julien Greimas, Claude Bremond, Umberto Eco, Jules Gritti, Violette Morin, Christian Metz, and Tzvetan Todorov. Subsequently, a number of these participants contributed articles to the same issue of Communications, on the structural analysis of narrative.

See also Sunil Manghani, ‘Notes on Structuralism: Introduction‘, and Jonathan Culler, ‘Analyzing Narrative: Roland Barthes’ Forgotten Interview‘ from the same section of the journal. Culler’s article requires subscription, but the others are open access.

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