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The Interpretation of Cultures

Clifford Geertz, 1973

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"It is one of the minor ironies of modern intellectual history that the term "ideology" has itself become thoroughly ideologized".

"Early in April of 1958, my wife and I arrived, malarial and different, in a Balinese village we intended, as anthropologists, to study".

"Two characteristics of anthropological work on religion accomplised since the second world war stricke me as curious when such work is placed against that carried out just before and just after the first. One is that has made no theoretical advances of major importances. It is living off the conceptual capital of its ancesters, adding very little, save a certain empirical enrichment, to it. The second is that it draws what concepts it does use from a very narrowly defined intellectual tradition".

"What, after all, is one to make savages ?"

"In her book, Philosophy in a New Key, Susanne Langer remarks that certain ideas burst upon the intelectual landscape with a tremendous force."

"In recent years, the main meeting ground of the vourious branches of learning which in some uncertain way make up the social sciences has been the study of the so-called Third World: the forming nations and tottering states of Asia, Africa, and Latin America".

"We hear much these days about political and ecomonic modernization in the new states of Asia and Africa, but little about religious modernization".

"In the intellectual history of the behavioral sciences the concept of "mind" has played a curious double role"

"Between 1945 and 1968 sixty-six "countries" -- the actualities demand the quotation marks -- attained political independence from colonial rule".

"Human thought is consummately social: social in its origins, social in its funcions, social in its forms, social in its applications".

"Toward the end of his recent study of the ideas used by tribal peoples, La Pensée Sauvage, the French anthropologist Lévi-Strauss remarks that scientific explanation does not consist, as we have been led to imagine, in a substituion of the complex to the simple."

"Religion is never merely metaphysics".

"One of the things that everyone knows but no one can quite think how to demonstrate is that a country's politics reflect the design of its culture".

"As in so many areas of anthropological concern, functionalism, either of the sociological sort associated with the name of Radcliffe-Brown or of the social-psychological sort associated with Malinowski, has tended to dominate recent theoretical discussion of the role of religion in society".

"In 1948, acercely a year after Independence, Pandit Nehru found himself in the always unsetting position for an opposition politician finally come power of being obliged to place in practice a policy he had long espoused but never liked. With Patel and Sitaramayya, he was appointed to the Linguistic Provinces Comittee".

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