StudentShare solutions
Triangle menu

Compare and contrast at least two anthropological interpretations of the term culture - Essay Example

Not dowloaded yet

Extract of sample
Compare and contrast at least two anthropological interpretations of the term culture

Their vision of culture influenced anthropological thinking for at least fifty years. Culture, as a guidance system, leads society to notice important differences between humans and other phenomena that get directed. Humans and their guides are often in conflict. Humans, or peculiar primates, create a peculiar guidance system, one that is praised, died for, evaded, avoided, and taught to young children. Intuitively, all we know about culture makes sense.
C. Geertz represents a symbolic anthropology school which underlines a key role of symbols (thoughts) in society and its culture. Geertz develops and discusses the main ideas about culture and its meaning in The Interpretation of Culture (1973) and Local Knowledge: Further essays in Interpretive Anthropology (1983). It is important to note that this school of thoughts is also called an interpretive anthropology, paying a special attention to semiotic nature of culture. Under the leadership of Clifford Geertz, culture generates considerable excitement as a semiotic concept. Ideas and concepts used in his theories, Geertz took from the work of Gilbert Ryle and translating his philosophical ideas into notions usable by anthropologists, Geertz is revitalizing an old link with philosophy. This revitalization movement has its own vision of culture.
According to Geertz, culture is no longer a map lodged in human minds; it is no longer plans, recipes, and rules. Culture, now, is traffic in things which impose meaning. More completely, and in Geertz's words, culture is traffic in anything "that is disengaged from its mere actuality and used to impose meaning upon experience" (Geertz 1973, p. 45). Within this context, human activity is well described as a "text," and a culture as an assemblage of texts. In presenting texts to interested publics and in interpreting their meanings, anthropologists assume old roles with some new labels, observers, scribes, translators, and interpreters. The documents anthropologists present must be deeply embedded in the contextual richness of social life; a text, that is, must be a "thick" description. Geertz defines culture as
"a system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which people communicate, perpetuate, and develop their knowledge about and attitudes toward life" (Geertz 1973, p. 89).
The problem is, it is quite easy to write a text that is thick, but it is very difficult to write a text that is valid. The problem has not escaped Geertz. He admits that it is difficult to fathom "what our informants are up to and what it all means." Also, he settles rather cheaply for "doing the best we can" and using a lot of guessing. In his words:
Cultural analysis is (or should be) guessing at meaning, assessing the guesses, and drawing explanatory conclusions from the better guesses, not discovering the Continent of Meaning and mapping out its bodiless landscape. (1973: 15)
Guessing, a fundamental strategy in science, generally passes under the more prestigious name of hypothesizing. And hypothesizing, in traditional science, is but part of the opening moves. In the middle game and the end game scientists (1) build and use models and (2) utilize verification procedures. Instead of formal models, Geertz provides two general and rather strange images. Humans, for Geertz, are like spiders "suspended in webs of significance" ...Show more


Culture, as anthropologists see it, gives meaning, logic, and importance to many discrete and seemingly unconnected facts about human life. Culture evolves, and cultural evolution, like biological evolution, is progressive. Hence, inferior forms regularly give way to superior forms…
Author : jaren94
Compare and contrast at least two anthropological interpretations of the term culture essay example
Read Text Preview
Save Your Time for More Important Things
Let us write or edit the essay on your topic
"Compare and contrast at least two anthropological interpretations of the term culture"
with a personal 20% discount.
Grab the best paper

Related Essays

Compare and Contrast Two Movies
The film informs us about how she lost her parents, and because of these become forced into some isolation. This enabled her posses an active mind that managed to keep her of the isolation thoughts. She helps a man who works as a painter reunite back with his family.
3 pages (750 words) Essay
Compare and contrast two artworks
Above all, romanticism involves emotions and personification to project a complete aura, making it hard to be interpreted most of the times. In the deepest sense, romanticism emphasizes fine art combined with sentiment, intimacy and passion which then stresses the need for the incorporation of feelings and imagination in a masterpiece.
8 pages (2000 words) Essay
Compare and contrast two articles
Thus, it dwells on talking about the challenges faced by offenders while they combat identity without forgetting other forms of payment scams. It also focuses on the prevention measures against identity theft via information technology and the predicaments associated with the use of identification systems such as fingerprinting to put a stop to identity crimes.
3 pages (750 words) Essay
Compare or Contrast two buildings
4. Brain Storm List I. Massive Architecture. A. U.S General Services Administration Building’s E-shaped configuration. B. Ariel Rios Federal Building Semi-circular facade. II. Uncluttered Appearance. A. U.S General Services Administration Building’s organized flat and long facade.
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
Compare or Contrast two politians
4. Brain Storm List I. Elected through a popular vote a. President Obama was elected through a college system of U.S. voting system where the various states elected the candidates. b. President Benigno Aquino was elected through a popular landslide vote. II.
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
Compare and contrast two works
The characters present their stories as a means of entertainment during the long ride with the object being the one with the best tale wins a free dinner at the next hostel stop. The original plan was to have each character tell two stories
7 pages (1750 words) Essay
Told in a conversational tone, Hughes’ poem shares a mother’s constant concern that life is a precarious experience. When she states that “Life for me ain’t no crystal stair” (Hughes line 2), the mother conveys to her
1 pages (250 words) Essay
Compare and Contrast Two Readings
It specifies the revolutionary portrayal of the male highly sexual form through underwear advertisements like that of Calvin Klein. Where the portrayal in the past was muted in its sexuality, such sexuality now seems to be the
1 pages (250 words) Essay
Compare and contrast Schnitzlers and Freuds interpretations of character
It should be noted that there has been a number of critical acclaims and differing viewpoints which were formed regarding assessments of Arthur Schnitzler and Sigmund Freud
12 pages (3000 words) Essay
Compare and contrast two readings
ident in the analysis of these two men who were the founders of the transcendentalism in America who had some similar ideologies, which they did put very differently in their content writing. In our analysis is the comparisons as well as the contrasts between the two literally
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
Get a custom paper written
by a pro under your requirements!
Win a special DISCOUNT!
Put in your e-mail and click the button with your lucky finger
Your email
Comments (0)
Rate this paper:
Thank you! Your comment has been sent and will be posted after moderation