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Clifford Geertz (1926–2006)

Author of The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays

36+ Works 3,344 Members 15 Reviews 7 Favorited

About the Author

Clifford Geertz, an American anthropologist, is known for his studies of Islam in Indonesia and Morocco and of the peasant economy of Java. But he is also the leading exponent of an orientation in the social sciences called "interpretation". Social life, according to this view, is organized in show more terms of symbols whose meaning we must grasp if we are to understand that organization and formulate its principles. Interpretative explanations focus on what institutions, actions, customs, and so on mean to the people involved. What emerges from studies of this kind are not laws of society, and certainly not statistical relationships, but rather interpretations, that is to say, understanding. Geertz taught for 10 years at the University of Chicago and has been the Harold F. Linder professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Mary Cross

Works by Clifford Geertz

The Religion of Java (1960) 96 copies
Daedalus, Winter 1972: Myth, Symbol, and Culture (1972) — Editor — 57 copies
Kinship in Bali (1975) 21 copies

Associated Works

Anthropological Theory: An Introductory History (1996) — Contributor — 206 copies
Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Religion (1966) — Contributor — 55 copies
Sociolinguistics: Selected Readings (1972) — Contributor — 48 copies
The Modern Historiography Reader: Western Sources (2008) — Contributor — 36 copies
Ideology and Discontent (1964) — Contributor — 10 copies
Readings on Islam in Southeast Asia (1985) — Contributor — 9 copies


Common Knowledge



In essays covering everything from art and common sense to charisma and constructions of the self, the eminent cultural anthropologist and author of The Interpretation of Cultures deepens our understanding of human societies through the intimacies of “local knowledge.” A companion volume to The Interpretation of Cultures, this book continues Geertz’s exploration of the meaning of culture and the importance of shared cultural symbolism. With a new introduction by the author.
Alhickey1 | 3 other reviews | Jun 8, 2021 |
In a closely observed study of two Indonesian towns, Clifford Geertz analyzes the process of economic change in terms of people and behavior patterns rather than income and production. One of the rare empirical studies of the earliest stages of the transition to modern economic growth, Peddlers and Princes offers important facts and generalizations for the economist, the sociologist, and the South East Asia specialist. "Peddlers and Princes is, like much of Geertz's other writing, eminently rewarding . . . Case study and broader theory are brought together in an illuminating marriage". -Donald Hindley, Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science "What makes the book fascinating is the author's capacity to relate his anthropological findings to questions of central concern to the economist . . . " -H. G. Johnson, Journal of Political Economy… (more)
Alhickey1 | Jan 31, 2020 |
I remember very little about this -- I read it for school. because I was just burning through it at the time, I can't give it a fair rating. I should read it again. But it does contain one of my favorite quotes: "One of the most significant facts about us may finally be that we all begin with the natural equipment to live a thousand kinds of lives, but end in the end having lived only one."
Lit_Cat | Dec 9, 2017 |
Second book of Geertz's work. One wonders what else he did in his cosseted life at Princeton.
clifforddham | 3 other reviews | Sep 24, 2015 |



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