Mary Douglas (nee Tew) (1921 – May 16, 2007) is a British anthropologist, known for her writings on human culture and symbolism. Her area is social anthropology, where she is considered a follower of Émile Durkheim, with a strong interest in comparative religion.
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- Our ultimate task is to find interpretative procedures that will uncover each bias and discredit its claims to universality. When this is done the eighteenth century can be formally closed and a new era that has been here a long time can be officially recognised. The individual human being, stripped of his humanity, is of no use as a conceptual base from which to make a picture of human society. No human exists except steeped in the culture of his time and place. The falsely abstracted individual has been sadly misleading to Western political thought. But now we can start again at a point where major streams of thought converge, at the other end, at the making of culture. Cultural analysis sees the whole tapestry as a whole, the picture and the weaving process, before attending to the individual threads.
- Mary Douglas and B. Isherwood (1979). The World of Goods: Towards an Anthropology of Consumption. London, Allen Lane, page 63.