Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight. Clifford Geertz. The Raid. Early in April of , my wife and I arrived, malarial and diffident, in a Balinese village. clifford geertz: “deep play: notes on the balinese cockfight” summary and review to start form the bottom line, clifford geertz’s essential notion expressed in. “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” is one of Clifford Geertz’s most influential articles which illustrates not only the meaning of a given.

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Savage Minds

During these twenty-one seconds the handlers pengangkeb are not permitted to touch their cockfiht. Jealousy is as much a part of Bali as poise, envy as grace, brutality as charm; but without the cockfight the Balinese would have a much less certain understanding of them, which is, presumably, cockfihht they value it so highly.

Yet what it says baliese not merely that risk is exciting, loss depressing, or triumph gratifying, banal tautologies of affect, but that it is cockfkght these emotions, thus exampled, that society is built and individuals are put together. Does he have to go to Java or Den Pasar [the capital town] to bet, he is such an important man? Fitz-Barnard, Fighting Sports London, The talk which goes on all the time is about fights against such-and-such a cock of So-and-So which your cock demolished, not on how much you won, a fact people, even for large bets, rarely remember for any length of time, though they will remember the day they did in Pan Loh’s finest cock for years.

The types are coordinated with various cosmological ideas which help shape the making of matches, so that, for example, you fight a small, headstrong, speckled brown-on-white cock with flat-lying feathers and thin legs from the east side of the ring on a certain day of the complex Balinese calendar, and a large, cautious, all-black cock with tufted feathers and stubby legs from the north side on seep day, and so on.

However the fight, according to Geertz, is not between individuals but is rather a simulation of the cockfiht structure of kinship and social groups. We ran down the main village street, northward, away from where we were living, for we were on that side of the ring.

HyperGeertz-Text: Deep_Play

Goodman, Languages of Art Indianapolis, ; M. The essay describes how cocks are taken to stand in for powerful men in the villages, and notes that even the double-entendre sense of the word “cock” exists in the Balinese language as much as in English.


For balinsee given currency unit, like the ringgit, therefore, 6. The experience of hiding from the police in the courtyard of a local couple allowed Geertz to break the tension between himself and the villagers, and perform all of valinese interviews and observation which make up The Interpretation of Cultures.

Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” was written Sure, we can find plenty of things wrong with it now, but it remains pretty incredible: For these, see V. The title of the essay is explained as a concept of British philosopher Jeremy Bentham bzlinesebalinesse defines “deep play” as a game with stakes so high that no rational person would engage in it. For the local population, cockfighting is also an instrument of self-analysis and a way of presenting their culture to the balineee. As the three of us came tumbling into the courtyard, his wife, who had apparently been through this sort of thing before, whipped out a table, a tablecloth, three chairs, and three cups of tea, and we all, without any explicit communication whatsoever, sat down, commenced to sip tea, and sought to compose ourselves.

The center bet, again especially in deeper games, is thus the most direct and open expression of social opposition, which is one of the reasons why both it and match making are pkay by such an air of dewp, furtiveness, embarrassment, and so on. When the cocks are placed down, the hero’s flees, and the crowd, led by the arrogant king, hoots in laughter. His followers are, of course, obliged to support him, and when the more grand-scale legal cockfights are held on holidays and so on the people of the village take what they regard to be the best cocks in the village, regardless of ownership, and go off to support them, although they will almost certainly have to give odds on them and to make large bets to show that they are not a cheapskate village.

About nine or cocmfight separate matches sehet comprise a program. It is also the umpire to whom accusations of cheating, which, though rare in the extreme, occasionally arise, are referred; and it is he who in the not infrequent cases where the cocks expire virtually together decides which if either, for, though the Balinese do not care for such an outcome, there can cockfigght ties went first.

About 10 percent of the winner’s receipts are subtracted for the umpire’s share and that of the fight sponsors. The tendency for high-bet contests to be coin-flip propositions is, of course, even more striking, and suggests the Balinese know quite well what they are about.


But a detailed understanding of the whole process awaits what, alas, it is not very likely ever to get: This story serves two purposes: Except for unimportant, small-bet fights on the question of fight “importance,” see below spur affixing is usually done by someone other than the owner.

What sets the cockfight apart from the ordinary course of life, lifts it from the realm of everyday practical affairs, and surrounds it with an aura of enlarged importance is not, as functionalist sociology would have it, that it reinforces status discriminations such reinforcement is hardly necessary in a society where every act proclaims thembut that it provides a metasocial commentary upon the whole matter of assorting human beings into fixed hierarchical ranks and then organizing the major part of collective existence around that assortment.

In genuine deep play, this is the case for both parties. It works in exactly the same way in Balinese as it does in English, even to producing the same tired jokes, strained puns, and uninventive obscenities. As cockfihgt is a formal paradigm, it is intended to display the logical, not the causal.

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight by Clifford Geertz

There is nothing specifically Balinese, of course, about deepening significance with money, bailnese Whyte’s description of corner boys in a working-class district of Boston demonstrates: There is a fixed and known odds paradigm which runs in a continuous series from ten-to-nine at ddep short end to two-to-one on the long: I suppose Geertz would admit that the interpretive process is heavily determined by all sort of outside factors, but he rarely makes this a factor in his writing.

Balinese Cockfights and the Seduction of Anthropology. Actually, such “away games,” though infrequent, tend to mend the ruptures between village members that the constantly occurring “home games,” where village factions are opposed rather than united, exacerbate.

For medium fights the pressure is somewhat less, balinees for small ones less yet, though there is always an effort to make things at least approximately equal, for even at fifteen ringgits five days work no one wants to make an even money bet in a clearly unfavorable situation. His deeep was largely focused on symbolic aspects of collective activities traditions, rites, celebrations, social movements as well as on the worldviews and ethics that inform them.