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Exploring the Concept of 'Thick Description' of the Religio-Moral Economy of Penal Transportation: A Micro-study of a Vandemonian Moment, 1821

Citation

Ely, RG, Exploring the Concept of 'Thick Description' of the Religio-Moral Economy of Penal Transportation: A Micro-study of a Vandemonian Moment, 1821, Journal of Academic Perspectives, 2015, (3) pp. 1-25. ISSN 2328-8264 (2015) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2015 Journal of Academic Perspectives

Official URL: http://www.journalofacademicperspectives.com/

Abstract

This article explores the metaphor 'thick Description' in a micro-study of the execution of ten convicts on 28 April 1821 in Hobart, Van Diemen's Land. 'Thick description', contrasted with 'thin', is a metaphor promoted by the English philosopher Gilbert Ryle, and applied by American ethnographer Clifford Geertz, as interpretatively helpful, in a witty 1973 anthropological and historical study of certain individual and collective actions in North Africa in 1912. Thickening the description of individual and collective actions, as actions, moves, in Geertz's hands, beyond describing them as actions done or not, to interpreting them by reference to ends or values, as actions. Geertz, like Ryle, describes this, allusively or metaphorically, as moving from 'thin' to 'thick' description. What is only metaphorically alluded to here is the non-metaphorical factual question of what would make non-thin descriptions unequivocally true, as descriptions. That question is however posed at the close of this paper, and a non-metaphorical answer suggested: command assumptions.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:History and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical Studies
Research Field:Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
Author:Ely, RG (Dr Richard Ely)
ID Code:105474
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:Humanities
Deposited On:2016-01-05
Last Modified:2016-08-15
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