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Clifford Geertz and Shifts in Anthropological Paradigms

This article analyses Clifford Geertz’s shift from a social scientist who participated during the Cold War in policy-serving research on modernization in Indonesia to an anthropologist who focused on meaning and treated culture as an ensemble of texts to be read over the shoulder of the native. This shift becomes most evident in the different ways in which Geertz represented the social and political organization of the economy in Java and Bali in two of his major works. The results of these studies, though based on the same fieldwork data, are conflicting due to diverging theories and their epistemic design.

Affiliations: 1: Senior professor of anthropology, Institute for Cultural and Social Anthropology, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany Brigitta.Hauser@sowi.uni-goettingen.de

10.1163/22134379-17102003
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This article analyses Clifford Geertz’s shift from a social scientist who participated during the Cold War in policy-serving research on modernization in Indonesia to an anthropologist who focused on meaning and treated culture as an ensemble of texts to be read over the shoulder of the native. This shift becomes most evident in the different ways in which Geertz represented the social and political organization of the economy in Java and Bali in two of his major works. The results of these studies, though based on the same fieldwork data, are conflicting due to diverging theories and their epistemic design.

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/content/journals/10.1163/22134379-17102003
2015-01-01
2017-11-24

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