ANTH 3348 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Synecdoche

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ANTH 3348
9/13/16
Basic Concepts of Symbols
Geertz
The meanings of symbols are dictated by social convention
Multivocality
Openness
Synecdoche
Symbols: cultural categories of the human mind that might be reflected in nature
Processual symbology
Symbolic classification
Symbolic condensation the combination or consolidation of symbols or symbolic
objects/materials for specific symbolic purpose
Symbolic recombination taking symbols apart and recombining them in new ways
Making the implicit explicit
Geertz’s concept of “deep play”, like cock fights
o These had significant cultural meaning, not necessarily functional
Religion/religious institutions give life meaning
Geertz also addresses the manipulative users of religion
Geertz discusses science, religion, and art
o Science, he writes, uses facts and asks questions and emphasizes skepticism
o Whereas religion uses faith and belief, it emphasizes truth in reality, it proposes
order and denies chaos and catastrophe by making it meaningful
o Art requires suspension of belief, and dwells on appearance rather than reality
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