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Mary Douglas remembered

The anthropologist Mary Douglas, who has died aged 86, produced a framework for understanding society that should be part of the mental furniture of every educated adult

By Geoff Mulgan   June 2007

Few thinkers have changed how we see the world; even fewer have changed how we think about how we see the world. Mary Douglas, who has died aged 86, is one of the rare exceptions. Her field was culture, but she was as unlike the stereotypical cultural studies academic as one could imagine. A devout Catholic, she spent the last few decades in an extraordinary flowering of inquiry that is now providing insights in fields as diverse as the study of the Old Testament and the politics of climate change.

Douglas’s theoretical apparatus allowed her to think in original ways…

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