Lecture 011


Author: anthropologist Clifford Geertz


- Little: take empirical evaluation less seriously (not science), but his field work is indeed taking empirical evidence seriously

Operationalism: bad




I seems for me that philosophers are talking nonsense

- culture is public or private: depend on def. of culture

So philosphy question can be reduce to: what is a better way to define a word


  1. the excerpt? The excerpt, from a literary view, is confusing and unnecessary to establish his main point.

  2. consider text

  3. culture and can be measured or observed independent of behavior

  4. culture is flexible, people do not perfectly follow culture

  5. cultural frame: basic elements govern personal action (working hypotheses to understand events)

  6. script: cognitive understanding of event

2. Geertz advocates that social science should be studied with the consideration of local culture instead of imposing the scientists' own culture in the study. In the paragraph titles "Cultural Transmission and Social Routines" by Lauger, there is no sign of embracing the culture of the studied group. The paragraph, by mentioning many previous studies, generalize causation claims to many cultures, which is viewed as inappropriate according to Geertz. For example, it attempts to generalize that "historical exposure to apathy" causes "legal cynicism". However, according to Kincaid, who advocates that there is causation in social science, the sentence "historical exposure to apathy" causes "legal cynicism" is appropriate. Therefore, the article is what Kincaid would advocate than Geertz would.

3. thinly: not considering culture or background info (I put a rounded break into mouth) thickly: by considering culture or background info (I eat pizza)

  1. there is no objectivity according to Geertz? In Geertz's view, it is easy to deduct that anthropology is subjective because thick description. However, objectivity may be possible

  2. inter-subjective: make agreement on what culture we use to analyze observation

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