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E-ISSN : 2249 - 4642 | P-ISSN: 2454 - 4671



Celebrating Clifford Geertz’ Contributions to Anthropology: A Tribute on His 15th Death Anniversary

Riya Chhikara

Volume: 12 Issue: 3 2022


After the second world war in 1960s, there were two currents of thoughts to understand culture, symbolic and postcolonial. The symbolic school included Clifford Geertz (1926-2006), while the postcolonial school included scholars like Talal Asad and Edward Said. Both of these attempted to understand how colonialism shaped multiple societies. They also filled a vacuum in anthropology by raising questions on ‘inequality’ and ‘discrimination’ by the researcher. The data was biased to those who funded the research and critical questions were not usually asked. In this light, the discipline witnessed the birth of ‘Action Anthropology’. Postmodernists like Geertz and Bourdieu criticised the notion of a ‘researcher as a detached scientist’, and ‘objectivity’ which were emphasised in the Functional Anthropology (Durkheim). In this article, light is drawn to Geertz’ style of writing about cultures through ‘ethnographies of experiences.’ It is an affective turn that focuses on cultural pluralism and respecting differences. The article attempts to highlight on Geertz’ significant contributions in writings like ‘Religion in Java’ and ‘Interpretation of cultures.’

DOI: http://doi.org/10.37648/ijrssh.v12i03.022

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