Wk 5A Ritual 2008 - Symbols as Vehicles of Meaning Wk 5:...

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    Wk 5: The Social and  Cultural Construction of  Reality Symbols as  Vehicles of  Meaning How do symbols  shape the way  people see, feel  and think about the  world? Symbols as  Operators in the  Social Process How do symbols  perform certain  practical functions  for social groups?
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    Interpreting Culture a la  Clifford Geertz What does it mean?: The Interpretive  Question If culture is defined as a group’s shared  understandings and negotiations about  what everything means, then the  anthropologist’s task is to identify those  meanings and translate them for others 
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    A Wink is a Symbol Something that stands for or  represents another thing A conventional way to remind and  communicate values, ideas,  emotions and beliefs
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    Symbols as Vehicles of  Meaning Culture is not locked in people’s heads; Culture is  embodied in symbolic communication People communicate their worldview, values,  ethos and other important things through these  symbols This type of study thus focuses on an actor- centered perspective  Clifford Geertz:How symbols shape the ways  people see, feel, think about the world
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    Symbolic Action The way a society rehearses,  negotiates, and reproduces its symbols  through action Actions can be formal (like a graduation  ceremony) or informal (conversations  and daily social interactions at the  corner store)
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  Questions about Symbolic  Action and Meaning What serves as a symbol? How widely is the meaning shared? Is there more than one shared meaning?  How does the context affect the meaning? Is the meaning changing? How widespread is the awareness of the  meaning? What values are expressed in the meaning?
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Wk 5A Ritual 2008 - Symbols as Vehicles of Meaning Wk 5:...

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