Believing, with Max Weber, that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he
himself has spun, I take culture to be those webs, and the analysis of it
to be therefore not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretive
one in search of meaning. It is explication I am after,
construing social expressions on their surface enigmatical. (Geertz 1973;5)
If I had gone into anthropology after high school, I would have been a devotee of Clifford Geertz. I have yet to read another anthropologist who can turn a phrase the way that Geertz could. And, after sharing classroom space with a lot of sociology students this past year, I really appreciate the emphasis on meaning-making and explication rather than law.
How might we understand that which seems beyond understanding? How do we make sense of the webs?
It is funny that I have such a thing for “web imagery” given the love/hate relationship I have with spiders….
(© Karen Opp. All rights reserved.)