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1 Clifford Geertz, “From the Native’s Point of View” I.The Point of View of the Researcher ・ The Position of the Researcher 1. Bronislaw Malinowski’s A.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Clifford Geertz, “From the Native’s Point of View” I.The Point of View of the Researcher ・ The Position of the Researcher 1. Bronislaw Malinowski’s A."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Clifford Geertz, “From the Native’s Point of View” I.The Point of View of the Researcher ・ The Position of the Researcher 1. Bronislaw Malinowski’s A Diary in the Strict Sense of the Term showed Malinowski as: sometimes dissatisfied with, and unsympathetic to, the natives he studied. Geertz’s question: “if it is not…a capacity to think, feel, and perceive like a native, how is anthropological knowledge of the way natives think, feel, and perceive possible? When we can no longer claim a sort of transcultural identification with our subjects?”

2 2 The Point of View of the Researcher ・ The Position of the Researcher 2. “Experience-near” concepts: how an informant might describe his/her own feelings and thoughts, and the feelings and thoughts of close friends or neighbours Clifford Geertz, “From the Native’s Point of View ”

3 3 The Point of View of the Researcher ・ The Position of the Researcher 3. “Experience-distant” concepts: how a specialist might describe such thoughts and feelings, in order to prove their scientific or conceptual hypotheses. “Experience-near” and “Experience-distant” are not qualitatively different; nor is one preferable to the other. Clifford Geertz, “From the Native’s Point of View”

4 4 The Point of View of the Researcher ・ The Position of the Researcher 4. “The trick is not to get yourself into some inner correspondence of spirit with your informants…. The trick is to figure out what they think they are up to” p. 58 top What the ethnographer perceives “is what they perceive ‘by means of’” p. 58 mid Clifford Geertz, “From the Native’s Point of View”

5 5 II.Investigating social organizations through the concept of “person” 1. “The Western conception of the person as a bounded, unique, more or less integrated motivational and cognitive universe, a dynamic center of awareness, emotion, judgment, and action organized into a distinctive whole… is a rather peculiar idea within the context of the world’s cultures.” (p. 59 middle) First, the researcher must ignore this idea, and apply ① the framework of the informants’ idea of self-hood to the informants’ ② experiences Clifford Geertz, “From the Native’s Point of View”

6 6 Investigating social organizations through the concept of “person” 2. Personal and societal conceptions of inside / outside, and their proper ordering or hierarchy within that society

7 7 Clifford Geertz, “From the Native’s Point of View” III. The internal point of view: Frameworks by which people designate and interact with each other within the organization 1. Labels and Interrelationships (“Status markers”) Birth order Kinship Caste or class Gender Position at workplace or position in social order Other

8 8 Clifford Geertz, “From the Native’s Point of View” The internal point of view: Frameworks by which people designate and interact with each other within the organization 2. Status markers and their definition of the “person” ⇒ One’s “identity” is not simply personal and individual, but “representative of a generic type” who functions in a defined position within a web of social relations: one’s “cultural (or organizational) location” ※ Note: such rigid, performative roles are more commonly found in close-knit, densely populated, immobile societies. They provide the necessary personal distance among individuals.

9 9 Clifford Geertz, “From the Native’s Point of View” IV. The internal point of view: Social attribution frameworks ⇒ “Symbolic means by which to sort people out” 1. Internal means of sorting and designating members of a society or organization = “contextualizing the person” – By ethnic group –Within ethnic group, by family or clan membership (genealogy) –By village or place of origin –By occupation Each person has more than one of these designations, and is known by a different designation depending on the narrower or wider social context: “Identity is borrowed from the setting” “Identity is borrowed from the setting”

10 10 The internal point of view: Social attribution frameworks 2. “Looking at persons as though they were outlines waiting to be filled in, is part of a total pattern of social life” Distinctions made among persons within the same, but diverse, society: by context of life and practices Connections made among persons within the same, but diverse, society: by context of personal choice (occupation, friendships, politics) Clifford Geertz, “From the Native’s Point of View”

11 11 Clifford Geertz, “From the Native’s Point of View” The internal point of view: Social attribution frameworks 3. Public identity as based in private arenas of life Public interaction based on “positional” categories that are supposedly permanent and inherent Private interaction based in subjective experience within the household and religious and neighbourhood groupings

12 12 Clifford Geertz, “From the Native’s Point of View” V. Back to the researcher’s point of view on “the native’s point of view” = “other people’s subjectivities” Semiotic means by which people define each other within one society or organization Semiotic means by which we (researchers) grasp their ways of doing this: –Dialectic between extreme detail (thick description ・ ethnography) and “global” (broad) conceptual structures and explanations –The “hermeneutic circle”: researchers attempt to make details explain the concept and make concepts explain the details


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