If there is any concept that has survived the post-structuralism juggernaut within Anthropology it is bipolar opposition. Claude Levi-Strauss, considered by many to be the primary founding figure of American Anthropology, posited that life — particularly cultural life — consists of trying to bridge the gap between dichotomies. Good versus evil, body versus mind (or soul), earth versus heaven . . . the list goes on and on. Similar dichotomies are found within the field itself, frequently reflected in academic jargon: objectivity versus subjectivity, macro versus micro . . . again, the list goes on and on.
Why do I mention dichotomies? Well, for starters, they can help us explore the subtleties in everyday life. At the Royall House, for example. In this way anthropologists can truly become what Peter Segel of Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me terms “scholars of the obvious.”