Claude Levi-Strauss

Posted: October 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

Strauss came up with the idea of having ‘binary opposites’ appear in films. In critical theory, a binary opposition (also binary system) is a pair of terms or concepts that are theoretical opposites.

A binary opposition if a pair of opposites, thought by the Structuralist to powerfully form and organise human thought and culture. Some are common sense, such as raw vs. cooked; however, many such opposites imply or are used in such a way that privileges one of the terms of the opposition, creating a hierarchy in the case of media and films it could be the binary opposition of hero vs. villain in the fact that there are subjected to being opposite when in fact characters can have both traits.

Examples of binary opposites are:

  • good vs. evil
  • black vs. white
  • boy vs. girl
  • peace vs. war
  • civilised vs. savage
  • man vs. nature
  • action vs. inaction
  • east vs. west
  • humanity vs. technology


This is an example of binary opposites in the 2008 film ‘Role Models’ with Director David Wain.

  1. A. Morris says:

    Briefly explain why the image is an example of a binary opposite please.

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