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„Fieldwork in philosophy“: Geertz and Bourdieu in dialogue

Author(s): Spasić Ivana | Gorunović Gordana

Journal: Sociologija
ISSN 0038-0318

Volume: 54;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 401;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: Clifford Geertz | Pierre Bourdieu | anthropology | fieldwork | practice | reflexivity

Unlike the standard view that Clifford Geertz and Pierre Bourdieu embody contrary social scientific paradigms, it is argued that they share a whole set of similarities in terms of theory, research practice, and scholarly ethics. After briefly presenting the details of their encounter in the early 1970s, the authors identify the following points of their implicit and unintended convergence: 1) blurring of interdisciplinary boundaries, 2) work in North Africa, 3) relation to important predecessors, 4) commitment to fieldwork and rejection of ’grand theory’, 5) postpositivism and anti-postmodernism, and 6) reflexivity. At the same time, irreducible differences between the two are noted, marking the outer limits of this kind of comparative analysis. Finally, it is argued that Geertz and Bourdieu missed the opportunity to enter a genuine dialogue and learn from each other lessons that may have helped them improve their respective scholarly projects.
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