Geertz, Clifford James (b. 1926)
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American anthropologist of a hermeneutic persuasion; one of the most influential figures in American anthropology in the second half of the 20th century. Geertz did fieldwork in Marocco and, most importantly, in Indonesia (Bali, Java). In his early years, he wrote on a wide variety of subjects, including nationalism, ecology, economy and religion. He became famous for his championship of "thick description" - a methodological ideal that places primacy on the detailed, tightly contextualized empirical description that must go before any attempt at generalization. Later, his interests have mainly been directed towards symbolism and interpretive anthropology. These interests - and Geertz's colorful and poetic style of writing - made him a popular figure among the American postmodernists in the 1980's.

Geertz was influenced by a number of theoreticians, see for example: Cassirer, Ernst; Langer, Susanne; Ricoeur, Paul.

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