chapter  7
4 Pages


ByAbena Dadze-Arthur

In the early 1970s, Clifford Geertz's publisher asked him to select a set of his essays and arrange them into the book that would become The Interpretation of Cultures. At first, he remained unsure about what his intention should be. Geertz felt that "it is in understanding what ethnography is, or more exactly what doing ethnography is, that a start can be made toward grasping what anthropological analysis amounts to as a form of knowledge". Most of the essays resulting from several years of fieldwork in Indonesia fell into the category Geertz called "empirical studies" Translated into 20 languages, the work has turned Geertz into "a true giant of social and cultural theory". Today we grapple with social problems such as cyberbullying* and global warming* that Geertz could not have foreseen when he wrote The Interpretation of Cultures 40 years ago.