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Life in Schools - Essay Example

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Summary
The question of culture is one which is often regarded with specific definitions but isn’t analyzed in terms of how it affects individuals in an educational setting. In Clifford Geertz’s article, “Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture,” there is a question of what culture means and how it can be regarded in terms of education…
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Life in Schools
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Life in Schools

The strength of Geertz’s article comes from the ability to create a question of what culture should mean in a specific environment. Geertz is able to look at and analyze the interpretations of culture. This comes from the ideas of behavior and actions, intellectual relationships and interactions within the classroom. Geertz shows that individuals have created and embraced that culture must mean something that relates to identifying an individual and placing them with a specific identity and description. However, Geertz creates a challenge by stating that culture is the expression of the individual and the lifestyle they live. By building an intellectual response around this, there is the inability to understand the true identity and character of those who are relating to the understanding of culture. This leads to a common law of what culture should mean, despite the true reality of what exists within culture. The concepts that Geertz relates to and challenges readers with don’t only carry strength because of the main question in terms of culture. He furthers his alternatives with the ethnographic and anthropological discussions that are a part of culture. There is a large amount of evidence and definitions that have shown how these have created a specific intellectual viewpoint toward culture. Geertz doesn’t disregard the philosophies and definitions that are associated with these main viewpoints on culture and how this creates specific relationships to individuals in society. Instead, this is embraced with observing the strengths of these philosophies. However, there is also an understanding that this doesn’t equate to the experiences that individuals in society have and the beliefs in existence that one may have. While one may write about cultural affiliations and ways of existence, it can’t substitute for being in the experience and living within the culture as a belief and experience. The interpretations that are created then become self – limiting by the definitions and concepts that are related to this. The evidence that Geertz uses, associations to intellectual thought and the ability to show the ideologies of culture all help Geertz in creating a specific level of communication that divides the idea of culture from the experience of living in a culture. The one weakness that is in the article comes from the inability to truly analyze and understand what culture should mean if it goes outside of the parameters from those who have built observations and studies that relate to culture. Without this context, there is the inability to have a connection to culture and one remains detached from understanding other lifestyles. While there is the ability to understand that theories toward culture are intellectual interpretations, there is also the inability to create a substitute of what should exist in terms of building a deeper understanding of what culture should mean in terms of experience. The challenge then becomes based on creating a way to experience culture while bridging the gaps with intellectual viewpoints that are commonly used in terms of education. Questions of the curriculum within schools are often based on what students should be learning and what the expectations should be within the classroom. However, there is often not a consideration toward the difficulties with the expectations and the relationship that this creates with ... Read More
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