This review article focuses on two aspects of Levi-Strauss' exchange theory: temporal dimension and gender. First, the authors examine its diachronic dimension to argue that Levi-Strauss' exchange theory is far from being static. Its primary interest is evolutionary, regardless of how much Levi-Strauss distances himself from evolutionism of the 19th century as a paradigm. His analyses of kinship that attempt to identify elementary structures are meant to shed light on the origins of human culture. Although Levi-Strauss uses different methodology than other scholars interested in socio-cultural evolution, his treatment of the term homology, discussions of primatology and origins of culture suggest his deep interest in long-term process. Second, they examine the critiques of Levi-Strauss' analytical treatment of women as passive objects of exchange among men. Through the discussion of feminine agency, personhood, sexuality, and other forms of exchange of human beings, they argue that Levi-Strauss' exchange of women has to be understood in its historical context. He grants only limited agency to women but his approach is definitely not based on commodification of women. In contrast, the relational nature of persons as signs refutes such logic. The authors conclude that Levi-Strauss is still a source of inspiration for anthropology regardless of the decades of post-structuralist criticism.
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