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Intensive, small-scale, dense descriptions of social life from observation, through which broader cultural interpretations and generalizations can be made. The term was introduced in the philosophical writings of Gilbert Ryle, and developed by Clifford Geertz in anthropology, especially in his celebrated study of the Balinese cockfight (see his The Interpretation of Cultures, 1973, and Local Knowledge, 1983).

Subjects: Social sciencesSociology


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