Natural Symbols

Natural Symbols: Explorations in Cosmology (first published 1970) is an influential book by the British cultural anthropologist Mary Douglas. Further editions were published in 1973, 1982, 1996, 2003. It was also published in 2003 as volume 3 in Mary Douglas: Collected Works (ISBN 0415291062).

Natural Symbols
Natural Symbols -- book cover.jpg
Paperback edition
AuthorMary Douglas
Original titleNatural Symbols: Explorations in Cosmology
CountryUnited Kingdom
SubjectCultural anthropology, Anthropology of religion
PublisherBarrie & Rockliff, Cresset Press
Publication date
Media typePrint
Pages177 pp.
Preceded byPurity and Danger 
Followed byRules and Meanings 

Theoretical innovationEdit

It was in Natural Symbols that Douglas introduced the "group-grid" theory, with "group" indicating how clearly defined an individual's social position is as inside or outside a bounded social group, and "grid" indicating how clearly defined an individual's social role is within networks of social privileges, claims, and obligations. The group–grid pattern was later to be refined and redeployed in laying the foundations of the cultural theory of risk.


Natural Symbols was reviewed by:


External linksEdit