Meaning vs. Power: Are Thick Description and Power Analysis intrinsically at odds? Response to Interpretation, Explanation, and Clifford Geertz

Religion Compass 6 (12):534-542 (2012)

Authors
Jason Springs
University of Notre Dame
Abstract
This essay clarifies and defends the methodological multidimensionality and improvisational character of Clifford Geertz’s account of interpretation and explanation. In contrast to accounts of power analysis offered by Michel Foucault and Talal Asad, I argue that Geertz’s work can simultaneously attend to meaning, power, identity, and experience in understanding and assessing religious practices and cultural formations.
Keywords Clifford Geertz  Michel Foucault  Power analysis  critique  thick description  Talal Asad  religion  culture  meaning
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