Clifford Geertz: Works and lives: the
anthropologist as author (1988)
Noted anthropologist Clifford Geertz analyzes the writings of anthropologists, specifically ethnographers. What makes a reader take an account seriously, he argues, is the ability of the researcher to capture on paper the experience of having been to a place, not just his ability to report facts. Geertz compares the literary styles of Claude Levi-Strauss, Edward Evans-Pritchard and Bronislaw Malinowski, among others, and calls upon present-day ethnographers to enliven and substantiate their work by paying attention not only to what they write, but how they write as well. Work and Lives won a National Book Critics Circle Award in 1988.
From Library Journal
In this groundbreaking study, noted anthropologist Geertz focuses on the writing of anthropologists, specifically enthnographers. He argues that what makes readers take an account of field work seriously is not simply the recounting of facts but the ability to capture on paper the experience of having "been there." As exemplars, Geertz analyzes the unique and decidedly different literary approaches of Claude Levi-Strauss, Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard, Bronislaw Malinowski, and Ruth Benedict. Geertz calls upon ethnographers today not only to document their findings but to revitalize their field by paying attention to the crucial role of how they write. An engrossing work for scholars and graduate students.
Joan W. Gartland, Detroit P.L. (Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Table of contents:
(1) "Being there: anthropology and the scene of writing", pp. 1-24.
(2) "The world in a text: how to read 'Tristes Tropiques'", pp. 25-48.
(3) "Slide show: Evans-Pritchard's African transparencies", pp. 49-72.
(4) "Iwitnessing: Malinowski's children", pp. 73101.
(5) "Us/not-us: Benedict's travels", pp. 102-128.
(6) "Being here: whose life is it anyway?", pp. 129-149.
Review, anonymous) (1987), in: Mankind
Quarterly; vol. 28, no. 1 (Fall 1987), p. 65;
(online as HyperGeertz-Review1 (pdf))
Carrithers, Michael (1988): The anthropologist as author: Geertz's 'Works and lives' [review article on 'Works and lives: the anthropologist as author'], in: Anthropology today (1988). pp. 19-21.
Kapferer, Bruce (1988): The anthropologist as hero: three exponents of post-modernist anthropology [review article on 'Works and lives: the anthropologist as author' by C. Geertz (Cambridge: Polity Pr, 1988); 'Shamanism, colonialism, and the wild man: a study in terror and healing' by M. Taussig (Chicago & London: Univ Chicago Pr, 1987); and 'The predicament of culture: 2Oth-century ethnography, literature, and art' by J. Clifford (Cambridge MA: Harvard Univ Pr, 1988)], in: Critique of anthropology, vol. 1 (1988), pp 77-104.
Joan W. (1988), in: Library Journal, vol. 113 no. 202 (01/1988), p.
(online as HyperGeertz-Review2 (pdf))
Leach, Edmund (1989): in: American Ethnologist, vol. 16, no. 1 (Feb 1989), pp. 137-141.
Hutnyk, John (1989): Clifford Geertz as a cultural system: a review article, in: Social analysis, vol. 26 (1989), pp 91-92.
(1989), in: Journal
of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, vol. 25, no. 2 (April 1989),
(online as HyperGeertz-Review3 (pdf)).
Rabinow, Paul; Corsaro, William A. (1989) [Reviews 'Works and Lives: The Anthropologist as Author,' by Clifford Geertz; 'Tales of the Field: On Writing Ethnography,' by John Van Maanen], in: Symbolic Interaction, vol. 12 no.1 (Spring 1989), pp. 171-178.
di Leonardo, Micaela, Malinowski's Nephews (Review on Geertz & "Predicament of Culture" by James Clifford), in: Nation, vol. 248 no. 10 (3/13/1989), p350-352 (online as HyperGeertz-Review4 (pdf)).
Free, Tony (1990): Written or living culture? [review article on 'Writing culture' eds J. Clifford & G.E. Marcus (Berkeley: Univ Calif Press, 1986) and 'Works and lives' by C. Geertz (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1988)], in: JASO - Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford, vol. 21 (1990), pp. 51-65.
Srivastava, Vinay Kumar K. (1990): Their existence, our erudition [review article on 'Works and lives' by C Geertz (Cambridge: Polity Pr, 1988)], in: Eastern anthropologist, vol. 43 (1990), pp. 275-284.
Toffin, Gerard (1990): Le degre zero de l'ethnologie [on 'Works and lives' by C Geertz (Oxford: Polity Pr, 1988)], in: L'Homme, vol. 30 (1990), pp. 138-150.
Shankman, Paul (1990), in: American Scientist, vol. 78, no.1 (Jan/Feb 1990), p. 69.
Youngs, Tim (1990), in: Theory & Society, vol. 19 no. 3 (Jun 1990), pp. 382-388.
Swidler, Ann (1996), in: Contemporary Sociology, vol. 25, no. 3 (May 1996), pp. 299-302.