Mary Douglas Has Died



Mary Douglas, whose work ‘Purity and Danger’ I am heavily indebted to for the ‘dirty’ bits of Signs of Emergence, has died.

Obituary here.

"In 1966, Douglas published her most celebrated work, Purity and Danger:
an Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo. This book is best
remembered for its stylish demonstration of the ways in which all
schemes of classification produce anomalies: whether the pangolin for
the Lele, or the God incarnate of Catholic theology. Some of this
classificatory "matter out of place" – from humble house dust in her
Highgate house to the abominations of Leviticus for the Hebrews – was
polluting, but other breaches of routine classification had the
capacity to renew the world symbolically."