On Key Symbols1


  • 1

    This is a revised version of a paper presented at the symposium “Method in Symbolic Analysis,” 70th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, New York, November, 1971.


This paper reviews the use of the notion of “key symbol” in anthropological analysis. It analyzes phenomena which have been or might be accorded the status of key symbol in cultural analyses, categorizing them according to their primary modes of operating on thought and action.