Andrew L. Yarrow in the New York Times:
Clifford Geertz, the eminent cultural anthropologist whose work focused on interpreting the symbols he believed give meaning and order to people’s lives, died on Monday in Philadelphia. He was 80 and lived in Princeton, N.J.
The cause was complications after heart surgery, according to an announcement by the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where he had been on the faculty since 1970.
Best known for his theories of culture and cultural interpretation, Mr. Geertz was considered a founder of interpretive, or symbolic, anthropology. But his influence extended far beyond anthropology to many of the social sciences, and his writing had a literary flair that distinguished him from most theorists and ethnographers.