The interpretation of cultures: selected essays

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Basic Books, 1973 - Social Science - 470 pages
9 Reviews
InThe Interpretation of Cultures, the most original anthropologist of his generation moved far beyond the traditional confines of his discipline to develop an important new concept of culture. This groundbreaking book, winner of the 1974 Sorokin Award of the American Sociological Association, helped define for an entire generation of anthropologists what their field is ultimately about.

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I read it. And re-read it. It's brilliant work. If you understand it. Read full review

Review: The Interpretation of Cultures

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A bible for every anthropologist! Read full review


Toward an Interpretive
Chapter 2 The Impact of the Concept of Culture
Chapter 3 The Growth of Culture and the Evolution

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About the author (1973)

Clifford Geertz, an American anthropologist, is known for his studies of Islam in Indonesia and Morocco and of the peasant economy of Java. But he is also the leading exponent of an orientation in the social sciences called "interpretation". Social life, according to this view, is organized in terms of symbols whose meaning we must grasp if we are to understand that organization and formulate its principles. Interpretative explanations focus on what institutions, actions, customs, and so on mean to the people involved. What emerges from studies of this kind are not laws of society, and certainly not statistical relationships, but rather interpretations, that is to say, understanding. Geertz taught for 10 years at the University of Chicago and has been the Harold F. Linder professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

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