Works and Lives: The Anthropologist as Author

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9780804717472: Works and Lives: The Anthropologist as Author
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The illusion that ethnography is a matter of sorting strange and irregular facts into familiar and orderly categories―this is magic, that is technology―has long since been exploded. What it is instead, however, is less clear. That it might be a kind of writing, putting things to paper, has now and then occurred to those engaged in producing it, consuming it, or both. But the examination of it as such has been impeded by several considerations, none of them very reasonable. One of these, especially weighty among the producers, has been simply that it is an unanthropological sort of thing to do. What a proper ethnographer ought properly to be doing is going out to places, coming back with information about how people live there, and making that information available to the professional community in practical form, not lounging about in libraries reflecting on literary questions. Excessive concern, which in practice usually means any concern at all, with how ethnographic texts are constructed seems like an unhealthy self-absorption―time wasting at best, hypochondriacal at worst. The advantage of shifting at least part of our attention from the fascinations of field work, which have held us so long in thrall, to those of writing is not only that this difficulty will become more clearly understood, but also that we shall learn to read with a more percipient eye. A hundred and fifteen years (if we date our profession, as conventionally, from Tylor) of asseverational prose and literary innocence is long enough.

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Review:

"America′s most renowned cultural anthropologist . . . analyses the literary forms of several anthropological notables – Bronislaw Malinowski, Ruth Benedict, Claude Levi–Strauss, E. E. Evans–Pritchard, and others . . . The appreciation of Geertz′s brilliant writing is much like the appreciation of a brilliant metaphor." New York Times Book Review . "The racy colloquialisms, the quick–fire prose, sharp glancing allusions, aphorism and tropes of `Works and Lives′ force the reader on at such a brisk pace that, for some, reading it may seem like watching a speeded–up sequence of an old film . . . Those who can be expected to take this book in their stride will find it a lively and original critical comparison of the work of four remarkable anthropologists." Times Literary Supplement . "Geertz is a brilliant writer – obviously, he is also a brilliant thinker – endlessly witty and quotable." Boston Globe .

From the Back Cover:

'America's most renowned cultural anthropologist...analyzes the literary forms of several anthropologist notables.'-Richard A. Scweder, The New York Times Book Review

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780804714280: Works and Lives: The Anthropologist as Author

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ISBN 10:  0804714282 ISBN 13:  9780804714280
Publisher: Stanford University Press, 1997
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9780745607597: Works and Lives: The Anthropologist as Author

Polity, 1989
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9780745605692: Works and Lives: The Anthropologist as Author

Polity..., 1988
Hardcover

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