Geertz Clifford The Interpretation Of Cultures Selected Essays

Geertz Clifford The Interpretation Of Cultures Selected Essays-35
Yet the difference, however unphotographable, between a twitch and a wink is vast; as anyone unfortunate enough to have had the first taken for the second knows.

[ ] Comment The question here for our purpose is whether it is useful to categorize cultures, to find typologies or whether it wouldn’t be better to view cultures as constantly changing entities that can’t be easily boxed in…

Geertz suggests a different approach that takes in account the uniqueness of groups of people at specific places in certain time periods.

As Ryle points out, the winker has not done two things, contracted his eyelids and winked, while the twitcher has done only one, contracted his eyelids.

Contracting your eyelids on purpose when there exists a public code in which so doing counts as a conspiratorial signal is winking.

The conceptual morass into which the Tylorean kind of In the face of this sort of theoretical diffusion, even a somewhat constricted and not entirely standard concept of culture, which is at least internally coherent and, more important, which has a definable argument to make is (as, to be fair, Kluckhohn himself keenly realized) an improvement. Where do you see positive aspects of culture and where can it be challenging?

Eclecticism is self-defeating not because there is only one direction in which it is useful to move, but because there are so many: it is necessary to choose. ] Semiotics is the study and analysis of signs and symbols.

as a methodological dogma never made much sense so far as the social sciences are concerned, and except for a few rather too well-swept corners--Skinnerian behaviorism, intelligence testing, and so on--it is largely dead now.

But it had, for all that, an important point to make, which, however we may feel about trying to define charisma or alienation in terms of operations, retains a certain force: if you want to understand what a science is, you should look in the first instance not at its theories or its findings, and certainly not at what its apologists say about it; you should look at what the practitioners of it do.

We try it in every connection, for every purpose, experiment with possible stretches of its strict meaning, with generalizations and derivatives." After we have become familiar with the new idea, however, after it has become part of our general stock of theoretical concepts, our expectations are brought more into balance with its actual uses, and its excessive popularity is ended.

A few zealots persist in the old key-to-the-universe view of it; but less driven thinkers settle down after a while to the problems the idea has really generated.


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