Symbolic anthropology or, more broadly, symbolic and interpretive anthropology, is the study of cultural symbols and how those symbols can be interpreted to better understand a particular society. It is often viewed in contrast to cultural materialism. According to Clifford Geertz, "[b]elieving, with Max Weber, that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun, I take culture to be those webs, and the analysis of it to be therefore not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretive one in search of meaning."
Prominent symbolic anthropologists include Clifford Geertz, David Schneider, Victor Turner and Mary Douglas.
- Geertz, Clifford (1973) The interpretation of cultures, Basic Books, New York
- Geertz, Clifford. (Ed.) (1974) Myth, symbol, and culture, W. W. Norton, New York
- Sahlins, Marshall (1976) Culture and practical reason, University of Chicago Press, Chicago
- Schneider, David (1968) American kinship: A cultural account. Prentice-Hall, New Jersey
- Turner, Victor (1967) The forest of symbols: Aspects of Ndembu ritual, Cornell University Press, Ithaca
- Turner, Victor (1974) Dramas, fields and metaphors: Symbolic action in human society, Cornell University Press, Ithaca
- ↑ Geertz, Clifford (1973). The Interpretation of Cultures. Basic Books. p. 5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>