chapter  12
5 Pages

Where Next?

ByAbena Dadze-Arthur

Scholars will continue to remember Clifford Geertz's The Interpretation of Cultures as a classic. Geertz's central proposition has a timeless quality and universal applicability. Still, some scholars have pointed out deficits in the work. Critics have said it is not politically progressive, too ethically neutral, too invested in a certain concept of culture, and too descriptive where it should be explanatory. The work's theoretical usefulness in addressing "issues of social and moral philosophy" also remains unlikely to diminish. Geertz used the interpretive process to explain the shared meaning that specific symbolic acts hold for the individuals whose actions they are. Thick description focused on meaning-making-the way that actions come to acquire symbolic weight-and interpretation. Scholars may also attempt to reconfigure his understanding of anthropology in relation to the multidimensional social formations that have emerged since Geertz wrote this work.