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Meaning vs. Power: Are Thick Description and Power Analysis Intrinsically at Odds? Response to Interpretation, Explanation, and Clifford Geertz


  • Jason Springs

    1.  University of Notre Dame – Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies
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    •  Correspondence address: Jason Springs, University of Notre Dame – Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, 100 Hesburgh Center, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA. E-mail:


This paper responds critically and synthetically to forgoing papers by Kevin Jung, Robert Segal, and Stephen Bush. Placing their respective arguments into conversation helpfully illuminates the methodological multidimensionality and improvisational character of Geertz’s account of interpretation and explanation. I argue that these features of Geertz’s work enable it to simultaneously attend to meaning, power, identity, and experience in understanding and assessing religious practices and cultural formations.

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