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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.135

Do dual organizations not exist? Towards a contemporary interpretation of the case of the Ho-Chunkʼs historical villages


  • Michał ŻERKOWSKI

Primary authors


Claude Lévi-Strauss (1963) analyzing the spatial structure of a typical historical village of the Winnebago from the Great Lakes region, referred to the interesting discrepancy in its description presented by representatives of each of the exogamous moieties of the tribe. In the monumental monograph “The Winnebago Tribe” by Paul Radin (1923) one can find information that all researcherʼs informants perceived the standard village as a circle, but for one subgroup there was another circle of central lodges within this circle, while for the other subgroup (moiety that contained the chief clan) the circle was split in two by a dividing imaginary line. This information, although mysterious, was only a mention, because already at the time of Radinʼs fieldwork it concerned the arrangement of non-existent settlement and the past social structure. In the future, however, it became thanks to Lévi-Strauss one of the most important elements of the structural analysis of tribal dual organizations, and after the next few decades – a source of psychoanalytic pedagogy of Lacanianism (Žižek 2003; 2006; Hook 2008; Parker 2015). The aim of the present paper is to refute the structural as well as psychoanalytic interpretation of this case (via analysis of the original ethnographic material by Radin), draw attention to the mythological nature of these interpretations (that is analogous to the psychoanalytic and structural concept of incest taboo) and propose a synthetic ethnopsychological interpretation based i.a. on the research results of contemporary cognitive psychology (Loftus et al. 1996; Loftus 1997; Fotopoulou et al. 2007).