Wednesday, August 09, 2006

on Clifford Geertz, from Wikipedia:

Clifford Geertz - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "At the University of Chicago, Geertz became a 'champion of symbolic anthropology', which gives prime attention to the role of thought (of 'symbols') in society. Symbols guide action. Culture, outlined by Geertz in his famous book The Interpretation of Cultures (1973), is 'a system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which people communicate, perpetuate, and develop their knowledge about and attitudes toward life.' The function of culture is to impose meaning on the world and make it understandable. The role of anthropologists is to try (though complete success is not possible) to interpret the guiding symbols of each culture (see thick description). Geertz was quite innovative in this regard, as he was one of the first to see that the insights provided by common language philosophy and literary analysis could have major explanatory force in the social sciences."

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