In anthropology and other fields, a thick description of a human behavior is one that explains not just the behavior, but its context as well, such that the behavior becomes meaningful to an outsider.
The term was used by the anthropologist Clifford Geertz in his The Interpretation of Cultures (1973) to describe his own method of doing ethnography (Geertz 1973:5-6, 9-10). Since then, the term and the methodology it represents has gained currency in the social sciences and beyond. Today, "thick description" is used in a variety of fields, including the type of literary criticism known as New Historicism.
In his essay "Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture" (1973), Geertz explains that he adopted the term from philosopher Gilbert Ryle, specifically his lecture "What is le Penseur doing?"
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Other articles related to "thick description, descriptions":
... aims to provide social science with and understanding and appreciation of “thick description.” While Geertz applies thick description in the direction of anthropological ... made to.” “It is not against a body of uninterrupted data, radically thinned descriptions, that we must measure the cogency of our explications, but against the power of the ... At the end of the day, we must appreciate that the generality “thick description” contrives to achieve grows out of the delicacy of its distinctions, not the sweep of its abstraction ...
... Geertz's "thick description" approach was adopted by the sociologist Allen Scarboro, psychologist Nancy Campbell and literary critic Shirley Stave in their book Living Witchcraft A ...
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