Interpreting Clifford Geertz: Cultural Investigation in the Social Sciences

Overview

Theorist Clifford Geertz's influence extends far beyond anthropology. Indeed the case could be made that he has been abandoned by anthropology and that his legacy has been transferred to a more diffuse community of scholars interested in interpretation. This volume reflects the breadth of his influence, looking at Geertz as a theorist rather than as an anthropologist. To date, there has been no impartial, comprehensive, and authoritative work published on this critical figure. Contributors include an ...

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Interpreting Clifford Geertz: Cultural Investigation in the Social Sciences

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Overview

Theorist Clifford Geertz's influence extends far beyond anthropology. Indeed the case could be made that he has been abandoned by anthropology and that his legacy has been transferred to a more diffuse community of scholars interested in interpretation. This volume reflects the breadth of his influence, looking at Geertz as a theorist rather than as an anthropologist. To date, there has been no impartial, comprehensive, and authoritative work published on this critical figure. Contributors include an interdisciplinary team of leading scholars investigating the three core components of contested legacy: theory, method, and writing.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Interpreting Clifford Geertz is a rich, many-sided, and illuminating collection of essays. This volume views Geertz's work from different countries and disciplines and explores its ambiguities and inconsistencies, while also emphasizing that much remains to be learned from it.” —Peter Burke, Emmanuel College, the University of Cambridge

“The oeuvre of Clifford Geertz is like a rare gem, demanding examination of its endless facets to appreciate its profundity and radiating influence.  Congratulations to the editors for doing just that—bringing together the best and most diverse set of minds to assess this monumental figure in twentieth-century intellectual life. The result is an exceptional book, doing full justice to Geertz and furthering his labors.” —Neil J. Smelser, University Professor of Sociology Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley

“This is the definitive statement on Geertz. I cannot imagine a more consistently interesting and insightful collection of reflections about Geertz's corpus, and its position in the meaning-centered social sciences. It will be required reading among cultural sociologists for many years to come.” — Ronald N. Jacobs, University at Albany, author of The Space of Opinion

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230111714
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 5/10/2011
  • Series: Cultural Sociology
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey C. Alexander is a Professor of Sociology at Yale University. Philip Smith is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Yale University. Matthew Norton is a PhD candidate at Yale University. 

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Table of Contents

The Rise and Fall and Rise of Clifford Geertz—Jeffrey Alexander and Philip Smith
Part I: Geertz, Text, and Structure
Semiotics & Thick Description (Barthes & Geertz)—Peter Brooks
Balinese Cockfight Decoded: Reflections on Geertz and Structuralism—Philip Smith * On Not Doing Systems—Joseph Errington
Part II: Geertz, Interpretation, and Meaning
Geertzian Irony—Georgia Warnke * Clifford Geertz and the Strong Program:  The Human Sciences and Cultural Sociology—Jeffrey Alexander * Maximal Interpretation in Clifford Geertz and the Strong Program: Towards a New Epistemology—Isaac Reed * Thick Description as a Cosmopolitan Practice: A Pragmatic Reading—Paul Lichterman * 'Malarial and Diffident': The Vision of Clifford Geertz—Robin Wagner-Pacifici
Part III: Geertz and the Disciplines * Thick Description, Thin History: Did Historians Always Understand Clifford Geertz?—Stuart Clark * Scientific Cultures—Peter Galison * Geertz’s Legacy Beyond the Modes of Cultural Analysis of His Time:  Speculative Notes & Queries in Remembrance—George Marcus * “To locate in the tenor of their setting the sources of their spell’:  Clifford Geertz and the ‘Strong’ Program in Cultural Sociology—Mats Trondman * Ritual, Power, and Style: The Implications of Negara for the Sociology of Power—Bernhard Giesen
Part IV: Geertz, Life, and Work * Clifford Geertz as a Cultural System—David Apter * On Clifford Geertz: Field Notes from the Classroom—Robert Darnton * The Geertz Effect—Matthew Norton

 

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