Geertz clifford the interpretation of cultures selected essays

Originally published init cemented Said's reputation as the father of postcolonial studies. It's also an excellent book for anyone skeptical of social science in general, and serves as a great introduction for anyone just curious about anthropology.

clifford geertz the interpretation of cultures chapter summary

I'm rereading this and am amazed at how much I missed the last time I picked it up. There is nothing precise, categorically logical or rational about anthropological writing: Cultural analysis is strictly the process of creating various hypotheses, examining those hypotheses, and then deriving explanations from the best hypotheses.

As Geertz says, the analysis of it is not an "experimental science in search of law" but, rather, "an interpretive one in search of meaning. People who bought this also bought He saw that while some cultures are very different from others, they all seem to have certain internal structural relationships in common.

Of course, in order to reduce the occurrence of the anthropologist's own cultural bias and to attempt to more accurately understand a culture, one could easily say that it is imperative that anthropologists emerge themselves in the customs and practices of that culture.

This argument lies at the center of Palestinian-American literary theorist Edward Said's groundbreaking book, Orientalism.

Geertz 1973 thick description

Dec 17, Ashley rated it it was amazing "Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun, I take culture to be those webs This argument lies at the center of Palestinian-American literary theorist Edward Said's groundbreaking book, Orientalism. Are humans socialized from birth to perceive all cultural customs and practices through a shady lens, clouded by perceptions of the world they have acquired during childhood? It is difficult, if not impossible, to derive any absolute factual conclusion from data constructed of so many interpretive layers; thus, interpretation is not definitive. He argues that prison both created and then became part of a bigger system of surveillance that extends throughout society. Foucault does not believe that the modern-day system developed out of reformers' humanitarian concerns. The role of an anthropologist, according to Geertz, is to construct the finest interpretations possible, and most importantly, to be an active participant in the culture, rather than a passive observer. Originally published in , it cemented Said's reputation as the father of postcolonial studies. An anthropologist must become part of the culture -- looking in from the outside he will understand nothing. Detail is of utmost importance. I'm rereading this and am amazed at how much I missed the last time I picked it up. According to Geertz, the role of the anthropologist is, in a sense, to 'decode' the symbolic meanings of thes "Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun, I take culture to be those webs As Geertz says, the analysis of it is not an "experimental science in search of law" but, rather, "an interpretive one in search of meaning. By tracing these structures across cultures, he tried to answer nothing less than the eternal question: "What is man?

Geertz believes that, while to some extent it is possible to reach an understanding of a culture outside of our own, it is important to understand that anthropological writing is merely a "thick description," an interpretation of an interpretation.

There's no doubt this is academic reading, but if there were ever a book that deserved to be read by everyone interested in culture, this is it.

Rather than attempt to break down why Geertz is so great or what he covers in this book, I'm just gonna include a couple of my favorite quotations: "Believing, with Max Weber, that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun, I take culture to be those webs, and the analysis of it to be therefore not an experimental science in search of laws, but an interpretive one in search of meaning.

But, even then, is it ever possible for one to grasp an understanding of a culture in which one was not born into?

Clifford geertz the interpretation of cultures summary

Even if you're not into anthro, he's just a wonderfully talented writer and fascinating thinker May 11, Richard rated it it was amazing Possibly the most influential book of my college years. As Geertz says, the analysis of it is not an "experimental science in search of law" but, rather, "an interpretive one in search of meaning. Of course, in order to reduce the occurrence of the anthropologist's own cultural bias and to attempt to more accurately understand a culture, one could easily say that it is imperative that anthropologists emerge themselves in the customs and practices of that culture. The role of an anthropologist, according to Geertz, is to construct the finest interpretations possible, and most importantly, to be an active participant in the culture, rather than a passive observer. People who bought this also bought It is difficult, if not impossible, to derive any absolute factual conclusion from data constructed of so many interpretive layers; thus, interpretation is not definitive. But, even then, is it ever possible for one to grasp an understanding of a culture in which one was not born into? There is nothing precise, categorically logical or rational about anthropological writing: Cultural analysis is strictly the process of creating various hypotheses, examining those hypotheses, and then deriving explanations from the best hypotheses. Becker, Kitty Wheater Narrated by: Macat. I'm rereading this and am amazed at how much I missed the last time I picked it up. Dec 17, Ashley rated it it was amazing "Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun, I take culture to be those webs An anthropologist must become part of the culture -- looking in from the outside he will understand nothing. Foucault does not believe that the modern-day system developed out of reformers' humanitarian concerns. According to Geertz, the role of the anthropologist is, in a sense, to 'decode' the symbolic meanings of these certain events, practices, customs and interactions that take place within a specific culture, however insignificant they may seem to the observer.
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The interpretation of cultures: selected essays