The Interpretation of Cultures Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 8 January 2017

The Interpretation of Cultures

Geertz writes about the important role of thoughts and symbols in society. He believes that actions are guides by symbols. Culture, to Geertz is a system of conceptions that are inherited and then expressed. He describes expression as symbols. Symbols are the way people communicate and express their thoughts and beliefs. This communication then perpetuates attitudes and beliefs about the world and the society in which we live. Geertz explains that the this is how people develop their perceptions and attitudes toward life. He writes that culture is the imposition of meaning on the world.

Culture is developed and continues to change and develop, based upon the symbols and expression of people in the society. As an anthropologist, the job is to examine and gain understanding of the symbols, to interpret their meaning. Geertz interprets culture through research with clear methodology and provides examples of fieldwork and interview techniques with people of different cultures. He explores some of the difficulties in the process of talking with people as part of the culture may in fact be to provide the answers that one thinks the interview wants to hear.

James Cone – Black Theology of Liberation Cone writes about the experience of growing up and living as a Black man in Arkansas. His written work examines theology from a Black perspective, with much emphasis on the discrimination he experienced as a Black person, which included separate school, separate seating at movies and separate water fountains and the extreme difficulty when faced with these situations. Retaliation or expression could make things worse. Cone wonders what the Christian gospel cans ay to Black men who must deal with oppression and threats on a daily basis.

His work seems to question God at times, though he develops an interpretation of theology specifically for Black people. Cone talks about Black theology as a religious interpretation of the Black Power movement. He links the Black Power fight, with theology. This is a way, supports or explains the purpose of the Black Power movement. He mixes politics and religion. Con explains that Black is both a physical and attitudinal trait. This allows for Blackness in people who work for the liberation of Black people, but who are not necessary of Black skin.

He similarly defines Whiteness as a very negative connotation linked to sickness and oppression. It isn’t necessarily linked to all people with White skin, but with the attitudes of people and society. Cone’s basis for his Black liberation theology is on God’s deliverance of Israel from oppression under the Egyptians. He feels that this theme follows through with the deliverance of Black people from oppression in the modern day. Cone believes that Jesus was Black. Cone’s work goes through the need for the Black church to take more control for overcoming oppression and explains in theological terms the support for such action.


Gould Stephen Jay, “Evolution as Fact and Theory,” Discover 2 (May 1981): 34-37;] Gould, Stephen J, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, Harvard University Press, 2002 Burrow, Rufus, James H. Cone and Black Liberation Theology, Beacon Press 2002 Cone, James, Risks of Faith: The Emergence of a Black Theology, Beacon Press, 1999 Cone, James, Black Theology of Liberation, Orbis Books, 1990 Geertz, Clifford, The Interpretation of Cultures, Baric Books, 197 Kuhn, Thomas S, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, University of Chicago Press 2002

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