Reading Culture Like a Text – Symbolic/Interpretive Anthropology
Reading Culture Like a Text – Symbolic/Interpretive Anthropology ANTH 1002
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Estefania Notetaker on Friday February 13, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ANTH 1002 at George Washington University taught by Sarah Wagner in Spring2015. Since its upload, it has received 462 views. For similar materials see Introductions to Sociocultural Anthropology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at George Washington University.
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Date Created: 02/13/15
Reading Culture Like a Text Symbolic Interpretive Anthropology February 4 2015 1 Paper 1 ethnography of national space 2 Clifford Geertz and interpretive symbolic anthropology a Theory of Culture i Geertz does not take inspiration from science instead he takes his inspiration from literature philosophy and humanities ii He is not the empiricist not looking for universal laws Instead He is reading culture as it is a text b Clifford Geertz 19262006 i Symbolic or interpretative anthropology 1 The interpretation of Cultures 1973 2 Got his PhD at Harvard In Princeton he was a scholar rather than a teacher ii In the post WWII era 9 questions emerged about the study of anthropology and its colonial past Can the study of anthropology be objective 1 How to struggle with the issues of the past 9 He created idea of symbolic anthropology that derived meaning 2 Pluralist a Common humanity 9 but we are all very different 9Cultural diversity b Geertz 91 am interested in the Balinese not trying to establish human laws by studying them or use them as re ection of American culture Interested in them and how they see the world That s it 3 Culture defined by Geertz a Pg 5 Also definition of symbolic and anthropology i Search of meaning specific to that culture 1 semiotic of signs or symbols semiotics is the study of signs or symbols and their use of interpretation ii Approach culture like a text and you are going to do a reading of that text In this process you can understand that culture 4 Symbols a Cultures include complex systems of symbols and symbolic actions i In language art religion politics economics b A symbol stands in for something else It signals the presence of an important domain of experience i Symbols change in meaning over time and from culture to culture 9American Flag 1 What does this symbolize a According to the analysis of the different components blood purity and colonies b To Americans may be freedom liberty justice c In the past it means unity of different states and now union of different ideas d To others it can be imperialism and oppression 2 As shown the symbols changed from time and culture 3 Thick description a He gives us an example of the wink i Thin description the eye closed and then closed 1 No attend to understand the social context what it meant and the message it sent ii Thick description 1 Communicating in a precise and specific way a Deliberately b to someone in particular c to impart a particular message d according to a socially established code and e without cognizance of the rest of the company iii Use of the wink the thick description pays attention to the meaning social interactions and ideas b Thick description i Reading Pg 28 The aim is to specificsquot 9Draw large conclusions from small densely textured facts 1 Ex a cockfight is more than just a cockfight a Highly symbolic ii On anthropological writing 1 In short anthropological writings are themselves experimentsquot Pg 15 a An interpretation from the anthropologist that he got from the interpretation of those in the culture b Something made fictio i Not false but something constructed 4 Interpreting Balinese cockfights and deep playquot a Bali Pg 417 Pg 418 i Double meaning of the word quotcockquot as in English ii Multiple meaning of the act 9 to culture and politics of the society iii To be continued next lecture 5 Glossary a Symbol b Thickdescription c Symbolicinterpretative anthropology d Utilitarianism
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