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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index D > Dame Mary Douglas Quotes

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Dame Mary Douglas
(25 Mar 1921 - 16 May 2007)

English anthropologist who was one of her era’s most influential anthropologists and scholars of classification systems and institutions. In Purity and Danger (1966), she made a cross-cultural study of ritual systems of cleanliness, pollution, and taboo. She considered these did not merely establish hygienic conditions but went further to establish order with rules of behaviours; rituals bind people together.


Science Quotes by Dame Mary Douglas (3 quotes)

If we can abstract pathogenicity and hygiene from our notion of dirt, we are left with the old definition of dirt as matter out of place. This is a very suggestive approach. It implies two conditions: a set of ordered relations and a contravention of that order. Dirt then, is never a unique, isolated event.
— Dame Mary Douglas
In Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo (1966), 35.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstract (124)  |  Approach (108)  |  Condition (356)  |  Definition (221)  |  Dirt (15)  |  Event (216)  |  Hygiene (12)  |  Matter (798)  |  Never (1087)  |  Notion (113)  |  Old (481)  |  Order (632)  |  Pathogen (5)  |  Set (394)  |  Two (937)  |  Unique (67)

Our ultimate task is to find interpretative procedures that will uncover each bias and discredit its claims to universality. When this is done the eighteenth century can be formally closed and a new era that has been here a long time can be officially recognised. The individual human being, stripped of his humanity, is of no use as a conceptual base from which to make a picture of human society. No human exists except steeped in the culture of his time and place. The falsely abstracted individual has been sadly misleading to Western political thought. But now we can start again at a point where major streams of thought converge, at the other end, at the making of culture. Cultural analysis sees the whole tapestry as a whole, the picture and the weaving process, before attending to the individual threads.
— Dame Mary Douglas
As co-author with Baron Isherwood, The World of Goods: Towards an Anthropology of Consumption (1979, 2002), 41-42.
Science quotes on:  |  18th Century (21)  |  Abstract (124)  |  Analysis (233)  |  Base (117)  |  Being (1278)  |  Bias (20)  |  Century (310)  |  Claim (146)  |  Closed (38)  |  Conceptual (10)  |  Converge (8)  |  Culture (143)  |  Discredit (8)  |  End (590)  |  Era (51)  |  Exist (443)  |  Find (998)  |  Human (1468)  |  Human Being (175)  |  Human Society (13)  |  Humanity (169)  |  Individual (404)  |  Interpretation (85)  |  Long (790)  |  Major (84)  |  Making (300)  |  Misleading (21)  |  New (1216)  |  Other (2236)  |  Picture (143)  |  Point (580)  |  Political (121)  |  Procedure (41)  |  Process (423)  |  Recognise (9)  |  See (1081)  |  Society (326)  |  Start (221)  |  Stream (81)  |  Strip (6)  |  Tapestry (5)  |  Task (147)  |  Thought (953)  |  Thread (32)  |  Time (1877)  |  Ultimate (144)  |  Uncover (20)  |  Universality (22)  |  Use (766)  |  Weaving (5)  |  Western (45)  |  Whole (738)  |  Will (2355)

Where there is dirt there is a system. Dirt is the by-product of a systematic ordering and classification of matter, in so far as ordering involves rejecting inappropriate elements.
— Dame Mary Douglas
In Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo (1966), 35.
Science quotes on:  |  By-Product (7)  |  Classification (97)  |  Dirt (15)  |  Element (310)  |  Inappropriate (3)  |  Involve (90)  |  Matter (798)  |  Order (632)  |  Product (160)  |  Rejection (34)  |  System (537)  |  Systematic (57)


See also:
  • 25 Mar - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Douglas's birth.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
Quotations by: • Albert Einstein • Isaac Newton • Lord Kelvin • Charles Darwin • Srinivasa Ramanujan • Carl Sagan • Florence Nightingale • Thomas Edison • Aristotle • Marie Curie • Benjamin Franklin • Winston Churchill • Galileo Galilei • Sigmund Freud • Robert Bunsen • Louis Pasteur • Theodore Roosevelt • Abraham Lincoln • Ronald Reagan • Leonardo DaVinci • Michio Kaku • Karl Popper • Johann Goethe • Robert Oppenheimer • Charles Kettering  ... (more people)

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- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton



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