In my prior anthropological theory classes from undergrad, Levi-Strauss was always juxtaposed against Geertz, with Geertz reacting against Levi-Straussian structuralism in an attempt to indicate the value of thick description - looking at bits of ethnographic data as chunks of information ripe for analysis. As we've talked about in class, his work, however, fails to really assess political issues and historical issues, which play a crucial role in anthropology, as evidenced by Michael Scott's work in Melanesia (at least, that would be my assessment).
The one thing that confuses me about Geertz, however, is if he is deploying emic or etic categories of analysis in his fieldwork. Also, are Boasian and Geertzian schools of thought essentially the same or different? I have read "Patterns of Culture" by Ruth Benedict in the past, and although she follows Geertz, I feel as if her argument is slightly different.
In "Common Sense as a Cultural System," could it be said that his discussion of intersexuality, which is some form of 'inversion' across the societies he mentions, be linked to Levi-Strauss's discussion of the Asdiwal myth? I see some sort of affinity here that I had not previously noticed between these theorists. Although they are essentially at odds with one another methodologically, it seems that some of the conclusions they're reaching are relatively similar in character, and, to some extent, totalizing of the 'native' perspective. I can see how Geertzian ideas influenced the postmodern theorists like James Clifford, however, I think that postmodernists were also reacting against Geertz in some ways. Maybe this is just my interpretation, but I feel as if Geertz truly contradicts himself in "Common Sense as a Cultural System" because he insists that the notion of 'common sense' is so cross-culturally variable that universals can't be specified, however, he goes on to identify some broad categories that ideas about common sense are linked to - including 'naturalness' and 'practicalness,' just to name two of them.
Does anyone have any input on my reading of this? I know it's fundamentally a reversal of everything I have been taught in anthropology classes, but I had never really seen this linkage before and it has been preoccupying me during my revision.
I suppose because Geertz is essentially writing against structuralism, he draws upon some metaphors from it at least and tries to revise them according to his own approach.