chapter  1
5 Pages

The Author and the Historical Context

ByAbena Dadze-Arthur

A range of academic disciplines influenced Clifford Geertz's work, evidenced by his lifelong passion for interdisciplinary experimentation; "interdisciplinary" refers to research that draws on the aims and methods of different academic disciplines. Arguing for the need to embrace an interpretive approach to the field of anthropology, Geertz's The Interpretation of Cultures remains essential reading for students of this discipline. Geertz proposes that interpretive anthropology has two purposes: first, to see the world through the eyes of those born into a given culture; second, to translate the resulting insight to those outside the culture-an approach known as interpretivism. Geertz was among the first generation of scholars to propose that outsiders should study culture by understanding the subjective perspectives of those living in the culture. The Interpretation of Cultures also made an impact beyond the confines of anthropology, influencing disciplines in the social sciences and humanities.