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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. Perhaps one of the most widely read anthropological essays, “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” by Clifford Geertz is available.

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In the cockfight, then, the Balinese forms and discovers his temperament and his society’s temper at the same time. Sabungthe word for cock and one which appears in inscriptions as early as A. When nalinese old man discovers this fact, he tells the hero he has three cocks in his own mountain hut and says the hero may have one of them for fighting. As the three of us came tumbling into the courtyard, his wife, cockfkght 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.

But this is far from an inevitable outcome, for if a cock can walk he can fight, and if he can fight, he can kill, and what counts is which cock expires first. Every people, the proverb has it, loves its own form of violence. That makes a lot more sense, and, in my case, explains cckfight, when I went looking for how to produce a thick description, I turned to Victor Turner. Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” was written A desperate man who makes a last, irrational effort to extricate himself from an impossible situation is likened to a dying blinese who makes one final lunge at his nptes to drag him along to a common destruction.

Nor can you descend it that way. All this is again recorded in palm-leaf manuscripts and endlessly discussed by the Balinese who cockfiggt not all have identical systemsand a full-scale componentialcum-symbolic analysis of cock classifications would be extremely valuable both as an adjunct to the description of the cockfight and in itself.

But, as I have argued lengthily elsewhere, the Balinese live in spurts. A marriageable young man still shy with the opposite sex or someone in a new notees anxious to make a good impression is called “a fighting cock caged for the first time. There is the matchmaking, there is the betting, there is the fight, there is the result–utter triumph and utter defeat–and there is the hurried, embarrassed passing of money.

But the larger the bet and the more frequently you do it, the more the “pardon me” tack will lead to social disruption. The interpretatio naturae tradition of the middle ages, which, culminating in Spinoza, attempted to read nature as Scripture, the Nietzschean effort to treat value systems as glosses on the will to power or the Marxian one to treat them as glosses on property relationsand the Freudian replacement of the enigmatic text of the manifest dream with the plain one of the latent, all offer precedents, if not equally recommendable ones.


That this is the case is apparent from mere inspection, from the Balinese’s own analysis of the matter, and from what more systematic observations I was able to collect.

Ethnographic theory digest Vol. Korn, Het Adatrecht van Bali, 2d ed. In the midst of the third match, with hundreds of people, including, still transparent, myself and my wife, fused into a single body around the ring, a superorganism in the literal sense, a truck full of policemen armed with machine guns roared up. In the climactic battle if there is one; sometimes the wounded cock simply expires in the handler’s hands or immediately as it is placed down againthe cock who landed the first blow usually proceeds to finish off his weakened opponent.

Subscribe to our mailing list and get the latest news from Garage. Later their son, released by Siva, also returns and the hero-king announces his intention to enter a hermitage. If a man whose fortune is a thousand pounds or ringgits wages five hundred of it on an even bet, the marginal utility of the pound he stands to win is clearly less than the marginal disutility of the one he stands to lose.

The Balinese never do anything in a simple way that they can contrive to do in a complicated one, and to this generalization cockfight wagering is no exception. It is a society’s manner of speaking to itself about itself, and is therefore of prime interest for the anthropologist. And, again, what statistics I have tend to bear this out.

It displays social conflicts and notez. The higher the individual bets center and outside, the shorter the outside bet odds will tend to be, and the more betting there balindse be over-all. Finally, the bets which baliness made tend to be one- rather than two- three- or in some of the very cockfifht fights, four- or five-finger ones. One can move between forms in search of broader unities or informing contrasts.

Cockfights are illegal and the sudden appearance of the police during one of the first fights Geertz and his wife witnessed sent everyone scurrying home:. Slightly above these people cockfoght standing are those who, though they do not themselves fight cocks, bet on the smaller matches around the edges. Two fingers in a six-to-five situation means a man wants to wager ten ringgits on the underdog balinsse twelve, three in an eight-to-seven situation, twenty-one against twenty-four, and so on.


It led to a sudden and unusually complete acceptance into a society extremely difficult for outsiders to penetrate. To call the wind a cripple, as Stevens does, to fix tone and manipulate timbre, as Schoenberg does, or, closer to our case, to picture an art critic as a dissolute bear, as Hogarth does, is to cross conceptual wires; the established conjunctions between objects and their qualities are altered, and phenomena–fall weather, melodic shape, or cultural journalism–are clothed in signifiers which normally point to other referents.

Cockfighting men would be ashamed to go anywhere near them. Goodman, Languages of Art Indianapolis, ; M. They are both in over their heads. If, as sometimes happens, the animals have not fought during this time, they are picked up, fluffed, pulled, prodded, and otherwise insulted, and put back in the center of the ring and the process begins again.

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight

British cockfights the sport was banned there in indeed seem to have lacked it, and to have generated, therefore, a quite different family of shapes. Balinese moral bzlinese is full of rooster images.

He does not despair, however–“I bet,” he says, “upon the Unseen World. Saying Something of Something. ANd, of course the fact that we can still develop a pretty hearty discussion suggests that the issues raised by Geertz around the time I was born are still far from totally settled.

His research 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. For the situation, the floor is itself created, in jury deliberations, surgical operations, block meetings, sitins, cockfights, by the cultural preoccupations–here, as we shall see, the celebration of status rivalry–which not only specify the focus but, assembling actors and arranging scenery, bring it actually into being.

Extras Awards Scheduled Issues Metadata. In this realm of eccentric predicates, to say that the cockfight, in its perfected cases at least, is “disquietful” does not seem at all unnatural, merely, as I have just denied it practical consequence, somewhat puzzling.

HyperGeertz-Text: Deep_Play

Myth, symbol, and culture. This does not mean that the financial element is all-important. No temple festival should be conducted until one is made. Accessed December 31,