Mr. Clifford Geertz was a cultural anthropologist, whose work shed light on interpreting symbols and society, who passed away in 2006.
He drew a careful distinction between culture and social structure, and said that a culture is a “system of meanings embodied by symbols” that provide people with a frame of reference to understand reality.
“The notion that the essence of what it means to be human is most clearly revealed in those features of human culture that are universal rather than in those that are distinctive to this people or that is a prejudice that we are not obliged to share”
“It may be in the cultural particularities of people — in their oddities — that some of the most instructive revelations of what it is to be generically human are to be found.”Clifford Geertz
When thinking about culture, it is not as important to think about what the culture does, as what the culture means.
In his memoir, Mr. Geertz said that anthropology was “an excellent way, interesting, dismaying, useful and amusing, to expend a life.”