cliff geertz

Thu, 3 Aug 1995 09:38:49 EWT

As much as I hate to admit it, and although his logic sometimes is obscure--
taking a book notice from Anita as the incident for an attack on non-participantCliff--RJ's complains about uncle cliff have some validity. Yes, Cliff has had
influence far beyond anthropology, but I certainly wouldn't read him for
ethnographic substance. Indeed, I don;t even read him anymore for theretical
insight into the workings of culture. The target of RJ's current tirade,
the Balinese Cockfight, is especially deserving, for although Cliff's
main purpose is to discuss culture as a shared system of meanings and symbols, it is not until the last page that he gives the social parameters of that
sharing: that the system of meanings and symbols is shared only by cockfighters,not by gamblers or children, and certainly not by women. Thus cliff has
ignored one of themore interesting aspects of contemporary anthropology,
that a single social situation can have multiple and co-existent "meanings".