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Mauss, Corin, and Freud - Essay Example

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In his article “A Category of Human Mind: the Notion of Person; the Notion of Self” Marcel Mauss’s proposition for the concept of ‘person’ and its development in a human being attempts to define it an entity of which the features are essentially determined by the…
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Mauss, Corin, and Freud
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Mauss, Corin, and Freud

t” Ellen Corin tends to view Mauss’s concept of ‘person’ in evolution or transition as one that is influenced by the legacy of European hegemonic attitude to the cultures of the non-European country. According to her, Mauss’s historical evaluation of ‘person’ is engrossed with the concept of the “other’ that bars the European scholars to perceive the ‘person’ of the non European societies as something “self-interested and self indulgent, and which is determined by outsides references to clans and divinities” (Corin 85). In Mauss’s conception of ‘person’ it is evident that the ‘person’ –which he is concerned with- is different from the concept of person as something “natural’. Though he does not completely defy the natural definition of ‘person’, he clearly asserts this definition of ‘person’ as unfocused, vague and simplistic. For Mauss, the definition that tend s to describe ‘person’ as something “natural, clearly determined in the depth of [human] consciousness” is, as he says at the beginning of the article, “still imprecise, delicate and fragile, one requiring further elaboration” (Mauss 5). The major steps in evaluation of “person’ lies in the following speech of Mauss,
“From a simple masquerade to the mask, from a ‘role’… to a ‘person’…, to a name, to an individual; from the latter to a being metaphysical and moral value; from a moral consciousness to a sacred being; from the latter to a fundamental form of thought and action- the course is accomplished” (Mauss 22)
Whereas Corin tends to view the concept of person from the anthropological desire to “have access to the Other’s alterity and to transcend to the contingencies and boundaries of …..cultural condition” (Corin 81), Mauss’s attempt to view ‘person’ from a socio-historical point is, as Corin criticizes, biased, therefore not absolute, by the cultural hegemony of the author. According to him the ... Read More
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