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This is the first full-scale study of the work of Clifford Geertz, who is one of the best-known anthropologists in the world today. In a lively and accessible introduction to his work, Fred Inglis situates Geertz's thought in the context of his life and times, reviewing its forty-year range.
The book begins with a chapter-long biography, and places Geertz in the anthropological tradition from which he broke so decisively. This break was inspired by the work of Wittgenstein and Kenneth Burke, who provided Geertz with the lead to construct his theory of symbolic action. This theory was vigorously at odds with the dominant idiom of scientistic inquiry in the human sciences, and since then Geertz has led the practice of these sciences in quite a different direction.
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