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Available Light: Anthropological Reflections on Philosophical Topics

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  127 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Clifford Geertz, one of the most influential thinkers of our time, here discusses some of the most urgent issues facing intellectuals today. In this collection of personal and revealing essays, he explores the nature of his anthropological work in relation to a broader public, serving as the foremost spokesperson of his generation of scholars, those who came of age after W ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 22nd 2001 by Princeton University Press (first published March 20th 2000)
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Tracy
May 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found Geertz through Tyson - she mentions him as the main thinker for cultural criticism. Why? I think it has more to do with his early work, especially A Balinese Cockfight, which was fascinating enough to give to my students.

This book has searing yet humble insights into the state of contemporary academia. He honestly admits how fortunate he was to arrive in the field when he did, but he also gives us insight into how much curiosity he had. And now, universities are different places with the
...more
Maughn Gregory
Extremely heady and incredibly earthy. I got the book for his essay on William James on religion (cited by Taylor), and was so challenged and entertained I read the whole thing. I think Geertz is right on postmodernism and relativism, on the dis-unification of scientific inquiry and the corporatization of universities, and on the subversive potential of Bruner's cultural psychology for education; not so right on the challenge of entrenched parochialism to liberalism; and I don't know enough to a ...more
Conor
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-non_fiction
I loved this just for being well written theory that makes sense. I have to give it five stars, even though I can't recomended it to many people since a lot of back reading is required. That said, 9-10th chapters, on people mixing psychology and anthropology, would be pretty awesome for almost anyone. Especially the one titled "Imbalancing Act." ...more
Yang
Apr 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: anthropology
This time when I read Geertz, I find him deeply Weberian also in another way (Meanings as public, as sociologically identifiable, which of course, is recognized by all). It suddenly occurs to me that there is another layer to making sense of his insistence on recognizing the limit of understanding, or that all knowledge/power has to be local, or that an "us" engaged in an "other-knowing-business" (however this "us" and "other" is sociologically or culturally conceived). For Weber the methodical ...more
Cărăşălu
Dec 04, 2012 rated it liked it
The key word from title is ”reflections”. As to their quality of being ”anthropological”, well, I think that a title like ”an anthropologist's reflections" would be more fitting. The topics aren't only philosophical. In this collection of essays, Geertz discusses some topics of interest in social and human sciences. These topics mostly concern the relations between them and between them and some natural sciences. Other topics deal with the recent developments in the world, or should I say histor ...more
Amanda
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books on any subject by any author. A great read for anthropology and sociology in specific, but fantastic for anyone.
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Clifford James Geertz was an American anthropologist and served until his death as professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey.

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