Symbolic anthropology or, more broadly, symbolic and interpretive anthropology, is the study of cultural symbols and how those symbols can be used to gain a better understanding of a particular society. It is often viewed in contrast to cultural materialism.[by whom?] 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".
- 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.