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Works and Lives: The Anthropologist as Author
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Preview — Works and Lives by Clifford Geertz. The Anthropologist as Author by Clifford Geertz.
The illusion that ethnography is a matter of sorting strange and irregular facts into familiar and orderly categories–this is magic, that is technology–has long since been exploded. What it is instead, however, is less clear. That it might be a kind of writing, putting cojo to paper, has now and then occurred to those engaged in producing it, consuming it, or both. But The illusion that ethnography is a matter of bertz strange and irregular facts into familiar and orderly categories–this is magic, that is technology–has long since been exploded.
But the examination of it as such has been impeded by several considerations, none of them very reasonable.
One of these, especially weighty among the producers, has been simply that it is an unanthropological sort of thing to do. What a proper ethnographer ought properly to be doing is going out to places, coming back with information about how people live there, and making that information available to the professional community in practical form, not lounging about in libraries reflecting on literary questions.
Excessive concern, which in practice usually means any concern at all, with how ethnographic texts are constructed seems like an unhealthy self-absorption–time wasting at best, hypochondriacal at worst. The advantage of shifting at least part of our attention from the fascinations of field work, which have held us so long in thrall, to those of writing is not only that this difficulty will become more clearly understood, but also that we shall learn to read with a more percipient eye.
A hundred and fifteen years if we date our profession, as conventionally, from Tylor of asseverational prose and literary innocence is long enough. Paperbackpages. Coom June 1st by Stanford University Press first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about Works and Livesplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Dec 29, Conor rated it it was amazing Shelves: An amazing mix of literary criticism and ethnological overview. I was worried that since I haven’t read most of the source material, that I’d be a bit in the dark, but Geertz does an excellent job of making the writings in question and even the work of Foucault and Barthes that he uses to look at them accessible.
As an added bonus, for me at least, this appears to be the unmentioned source text for an ethnographic methods course I took a few years back. Whereas that was fairly ham-fisted and mo An amazing mix of literary criticism and ethnological overview.
In that course a few years back, some of those same grad students spent lots of hot air bashing Evans Prichard as an ethnocentrist, a colonialist, a white man, an englishman, and dare I say it? Geertz, who for modern anthropologists is probably much more important than Evans Prichard, does not glorify the man, but he does add “let him who is free of his century’s imaginings cast the first stone.
Obras e Vidas – o antropólogo como autor (Clifford Geertz) by Mayara Maciel on Prezi
It’s probably the only really constructive criticism of ethnography I’ve enountered. Geertz is my favorite anthropologist and in this text talks about how anthropologists write–admittedly, he writes more aesthetically than most, and has been accused of being non-objective, but no anthropologist can report on a culture without the bias of his upbringing. He doesn’t exaggerate, or fabricate, but relays things as he sees them–as beautiful, fascinating, sensual, etc.
He’s an artist really. May 27, Roby rated it it was amazing. An important resource for anthropologists. Jun 22, Franditya rated it liked it. Antropologi sebagai etnosains sejak an telah menghadapi kebingungan epistmologi dalam menentukan subjek kajian.
Aug 20, Lytle added it. Meta-anthropologists are, at the end of their fieldwork, allowed to take on the name Clifford–signifying a special combination of observing from the cliff and participating as one fords the river of fieldwork.
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