Clifford Geertz Review

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Clifford Geertz is in ethnographer who used historical references interviews and cross cultural analysis to explain the game of cockfighting. Clifford Geertz explains in “Interpretations of Culture” that he is in interpretative anthropologist whose job is to not only state that facts but to interpret them. This idea is often referred to as semiotics which looks at how aspects of culture code for set messages that express that society. He shares the same idea of Paul Rabinow in that anthropologist are not the only analyst of a cultural phenomena and instead he is a second or third interpreter. IN this same article he states how he is a ethnographer who uses Gilbert Ryle's idea of thick description. He uses Ryles idea of “winx vs twitches” to explain how its in ethnographers job to not only state the facts but also to interpret these ideas into meanings of structure in a culture. He states how his ideas are linked to that of Max Weber who believes that humans create “webs of significance” and that these webs create meaning. Clifford Geertz explains how he believes culture is semiotic in that it is a public act people use to express themselves using symbols that have prescribed cultural meaning. In “deep play:notes on balinese cockfighting” Geertz explains how he became fluent in the language and gained trust with the people once he ran away from the cops when they came to end a fight. IN this article he explains the idea of Jeremy Bentham of deep play- which is the idea that cockfighting is a game with stakes so high that no rational person would engage in it. He believes that although this may be true the people involved do gain something out of it more than money and that when the stakes are higher this dramatically influences the people involved as well. He uses the idea of semiotics to show how the “cock” codes for a set of messages. The “cock” is a symbol
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