Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology

Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology

Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology

Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology

Synopsis

The noted cultural anthropologist and author of 'The Interpretation of Cultures' deepens our understanding of human societies through the intimacies of 'local knowledge.'

Excerpt

When, a decade ago, I collected a number of my essays and rereleased them under the title, half genuflection, half talisman, The Interpretation of Cultures, I thought I was summing things up; saying, as I said there, what it was I had been saying. But, as a matter of fact, I was imposing upon myself a charge. In anthropology, too, it so turns out, he who says A must say B, and I have spent much of my time since trying to say it. The essays below are the result; but I am now altogether aware how much closer they stand to the origins of a thought-line than they do to the outcomes of it.

I am more aware, too, than I was then, of how widely spread this thought-line--a sort of cross between a connoisseur's weakness for nuance and an exegete's for comparison--has become in the social sciences. In part, this is simple history. Ten years ago, the proposal that cultural phenomena should be treated as significative systems posing expositive questions was a much more alarming one for social scientists--allergic, as they tend to be, to anything literary or inexact--than it is now. In part, it is a result of the growing recognition that the established approach to treating such phenomena, laws-and-causes social physics, was not producing the triumphs of prediction, control, and testability that had for so long been promised in its name. And in part, it is a result of intellectual deprovincialization. The broader currents of modern thought have finally begun to impinge upon what has been, and in some quarters still is, a snug and insular enterprise.

Of these developments, it is perhaps the last that is the most important. The penetration of the social sciences by the views of such philosophers . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.