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Encyclopedia > Thick description

Thick description is a phrase used most famously by the anthropologist Clifford Geertz to describe his own specific mode of practice. See Anthropology. ... Clifford James Geertz (born August 23, 1926 in San Francisco) is an American anthropologist serving as professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey. ...


Geertz originally adopted the term from philosopher Gilbert Ryle. Ryle pointed out that without a context if someone winks at us, we don't know what it means. It might mean the person is attracted to us, that they are trying to communicate secretly, that they understand what you mean, or anything. As the context changes, the meaning of the wink changes. Gilbert Ryle Gilbert Ryle (1900–1976), was a philosopher, and a representative of the generation of British ordinary language philosophers influenced by Wittgensteins insights into language, and is principally known for his critique of Cartesian dualism, for which he coined the phrase the ghost in the machine. He referred...


Geertz argues that all human behaviour is like this. A thin description would be of the wink itself, however accurately described. The task of the anthropologist, therefore, is to explain the context of the practices and discourse that take place within a society, such that these practices become meaningful to an 'outsider'. This requires thick description.



Related Topics


See contextualism, indexicality, cultural studies. In philosophy, contextualism is the view that any decision or action or utterance always takes place in a context and can only be understood within that context (cf indexicality). ... An indexical behavior or utterance is one whose meaning varies according to context. ... Cultural studies combines sociology, literary theory, film/video studies, and cultural anthropology to study cultural phenomena in industrial societies. ...



Bibliography


  • What is le Penseur doing? - lecture by Gilbert Ryle (1971), and later published in his collected papers.
  • Geertz, Clifford. The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays. (New York: Basic Books, 1973), p. 6-10.

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BIOQUANT Life Science Selected Features (305 words)
Description: A Thick Line Histogram represents the average intensity of pixels along the height or width of a region of interest (ROI) box.
On the title bar of the Horizontal Thick Line histogram, “Horiz Line: #1, Avg: #2,” the #1 represents the pixel width of the box, and #2 represents the number of pixels in the column averaged.
On the title bar of the Vertical Thick Line histogram, “Vert Line: #1, Avg: #2,” the #1 represents the pixel height of the box, and #2 represents the number of pixels in the row averaged.
Thick description - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (208 words)
Thick description is a phrase used most famously by the anthropologist Clifford Geertz to describe his own specific mode of practice.
A thin description would be of the wink itself, however accurately described.
The task of the anthropologist, therefore, is to explain the context of the practices and discourse that take place within a society, such that these practices become meaningful to an 'outsider'.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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