Essay on Interpretation Of Cultures By Clifford Geertz

Essay on Interpretation Of Cultures By Clifford Geertz

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In part four of Clifford Geertz “Interpretation of cultures,” he begins by explaining Ideology within culture. He states the ideology is not as realistic as it should be. Ideology is a system of ideals that have produced fields in the political and social realm. Geertz says that ideologies have become so far removed from reality because the sciences only look at specific aspects of problems. Ideology is then broken into “strain” theory and “interest” theory. The interest theory is the belief that “ideas are weapons” highlighting people who use ideas to get to the top, at least this was my interpretation of it. “Strain” theory where individuals seek solace from social anxiety in the form of embracing a certain ideology. Geertz point was to not look at ideology as a weapon or a tool that helps individuals suffering from social anxiety based on societal expectations that they don’t meet, but instead look at ideology itself. Look at what ideologies speak on about the society, and look at it’s meaning. In the next chapter Geertz discusses nationalism. Today nationalism allows nations to have an identity within their own boundaries. These identifiers can be language, culture, and ideology. People of power within these nations have a certain identity that represents that nation. All aspects of a nation not only represents that nations but also tries to preserve it. Geertz states that, that preservation doesn’t always happen and it doesn’t always happen peacefully especially when there is economic and political gain. He uses Indonesia as an example. Before, Indonesia traditions such as islamic, indic, synaptic etc. co-existed under essentially one nation. The introduction of extreme ideologies and political agendas caused g...


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...ey. “Deep fight” usually have high wages and “shallow fights” have low wages. The fight represents status of the men so when a man participates in a “deep fight” the risks are higher and his status is on the line. These fights are also representative of social issues that due to Balinese culture, can only be expressed in the fights. It is a symbolic representation of the social lives within that culture.
I think the Balinese cockfights illustrated clearly the point that Geertz was trying to make. There are many symbols within a culture and it’s up to anthropologist to dig through the superficial and find the deeper meaning, the meaning that speaks on the framework of that culture and how it connects to universal man. Avoid separation to understand people and look at the connecting features. Geertz insight is very valuable in forming the anthropological perspective.

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