Clifford Geertz - Quotes

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Meaning is socially, historically, and rhetorically constructed. ---->>>

People keep asking how anthropology is different from sociology, and everybody gets nervous. ---->>>

I don't feel that an atmosphere of debate and total disagreement and argument is such a bad thing. It makes for a vital and alive field. ---->>>

We need to think more about the nature of rhetoric in anthropology. There isn't a body of knowledge and thought to fall back on in this regard. ---->>>

The way in which mathematicians and physicists and historians talk is quite different, and what a physicist means by physical intuition and what a mathematician means by beauty or elegance are things worth thinking about. ---->>>

I'm an inveterate fox and not a hedgehog, so I always think you should try everything. ---->>>

The point of literary criticism in anthropology is not to replace research, but to find out how it is that we are persuasive. ---->>>

Younger anthropologists have the notion that anthropology is too diverse. The number of things done under the name of anthropology is just infinite; you can do anything and call it anthropology. ---->>>

The North African mule talks always of his mother's brother, the horse, but never of his father, the donkey, in favor of others supposedly more reputable. ---->>>

Anthropology in general has always been fairly hospitable to female scholars, and even to feminist scholars. ---->>>

I had a hard time convincing students that they were going to North Africa to understand the North Africans, not to understand themselves. ---->>>

I've often been accused of making anthropology into literature, but anthropology is also field research. Writing is central to it. ---->>>

My instincts are always against people who want to fasten some sort of hegemony onto things. ---->>>

Anthropology never has had a distinct subject matter, and because it doesn't have a real method, there's a great deal of anxiety over what it is. ---->>>

I think of myself as a writer who happens to be doing his writing as an anthropologist. ---->>>

We're getting closer to our nature. ---->>>

I think the perception of there being a deep gulf between science and the humanities is false. ---->>>

I agree with Chomsky in almost nothing. When it comes to innate structures and so on, I'm very skeptical. ---->>>

Most anthropologists are doing straightforward ethnography, and should. ---->>>

Has feminism made us all more conscious? I think it has. Feminist critiques of anthropological masculine bias have been quite important, and they have increased my sensitivity to that kind of issue. ---->>>

If there's ever a place where you can't argue that you can put the facts over here and the text over there and see if they fit, it is surely in anthropology. ---->>>

It's always amusing to look at how something early in the 20th century was written in anthropology and how it's written now. There's been an enormous shift in how it's done, but yet you can't put your finger on someone who actually did it. ---->>>

Two people have been really liberating in my mind; one is Wittgenstein and the other is Burke. I read Burke before he was a secular saint, before everyone was reading him. ---->>>

Gender consciousness has become involved in almost every intellectual field: history, literature, science, anthropology. There's been an extraordinary advance. ---->>>

I think feminism has had a major impact on anthropology. ---->>>

I don't think things are moving toward an omega point; I think they're moving toward more diversity. ---->>>

I never leave a sentence or a paragraph until I'm satisfied with it. ---->>>

I do think the attempt to raise consciousness has succeeded. People are very aware of gender concerns now. ---->>>

I don't have the notion that everybody has to write in some single academic style. ---->>>

I don't write drafts. I write from the beginning to the end, and when it's finished, it's done. ---->>>

I think the American university system still seems to be the best system in the world. ---->>>

I think what's known about neurology is still scattered and uncertain. ---->>>

I've written a lot of books which are written from the moon - the view from nowhere. ---->>>

If I remember correctly, a writer is someone who wants to convey information. Language or writing is a code. ---->>>

I was trained in the '50s as a New Critic. I remember what literature was like before the New Critics, when people stood up and talked about Shelley's soul and such things. ---->>>

I'm writing a review of three books on feminism and science, and it's about social constructionism. So I would say I'm a social constructionist, whatever that means. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality: American
Born: 08-23, 1926
Birthplace:
Die: 10-30, 2006
Occupation: Scientist
Website:

Clifford James Geertz (; August 23, 1926 – October 30, 2006) was an American anthropologist who is remembered mostly for his strong support for and influence on the practice of symbolic anthropology, and who was considered "for three decades...the single most influential cultural anthropologist in the United States (wikipedia)