After the Fact: Two Countries, Four Decades, One by Clifford Geertz

By Clifford Geertz

"Suppose," Clifford Geertz indicates, "having entangled your self each sometimes over 4 a long time or so within the goings-on in provincial cities, one a Southeast Asian bend within the highway, one a North African outpost and passage aspect, you wanted to assert whatever approximately how these goings-on had changed." a story provides itself, a journey of indices and traits, might be a memoir? None, notwithstanding, will suffice, simply because in 40 years extra has replaced than these towns--the anthropologist, for example, anthropology itself, even the highbrow and ethical international within which the self-discipline exists. And so, in on reflection on 4 many years of anthropology within the box, Geertz has created a piece that's routinely unclassifiable, a private historical past that also is a retrospective mirrored image on advancements within the human sciences amid political, social, and cultural adjustments on this planet. a sublime summation of 1 of the main extraordinary careers in anthropology, it really is whilst an eloquent assertion of the needs and probabilities of anthropology's interpretive powers.

To view his cities in time, Pare in Indonesia and Sefrou in Morocco, Geertz adopts quite a few views on anthropological study and research throughout the post-colonial interval, the chilly warfare, and the emergence of the recent states of Asia and Africa. all through, he clarifies his personal place on a wide sequence of concerns instantly empirical, methodological, theoretical, and private. the result's a really unique ebook, person who screens a specific method of practising the human sciences and hence a particular--and quite efficacious--view of what those sciences are, were, and may develop into.

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Later, when, for a host of reasons, ethical, political, and wistfully scientific, this seemed too crude, and too candid, the need for a more exact, more celebratory representation of the world elsewhere came into being, and the concept shifted to the life-way-of-a-people form familiar to us now. Islands, tribes, communities, nations, civilizations . . eventually classes, regions, ethnic groups, minorities, youth (in South Mrica, even races, in India, even sects) ... had cultures: manners of doing things, distinct and characteristic, one apiece.

Today, ethnic Javanese account for about half the country's population, leaving the remainder divided among seven or eight moderately large groups and literally hundreds of small ones-a core and periphery pattern that seems to have obtained through much of the archipelago's history. The great florescence of Indic civilization-Barabudur, batik, gamelan music, the shadow-play-occurred in Java. The sixteenthcentury trade emporium was centered on its north coast, even if the most profitable cargoes came from elsewhere.

Grows out of a deeper mistake, even more obscuring: the disconnection of power from the conditions of its generation or the imnlediacies of its application, until it becomes a unitary, abstract force, defined, like glamour, magic, or the popular idea of electricity, solely by its effects. Elites monopolize it, masses are deprived of it; centers wield it, peripheries resist it; authorities brandish it, subjects hide from it. But what it is remains mysterious. It will remain mysterious as long as the only questions asked about it are where does it lie and against whom is it directed, the fixations at once of both the right, concerned to shore it up, and the left, concerned to displace it somewhere else, rather than what, besides office, arms, and the exercise of will, brings it to life.

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