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“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. 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. 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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Bringing a cock to an important fight was, for an adult male, a compulsory duty of citizenship; taxation of fights, which were usually held on market day, was a major source of public revenue; patronage cockfihht the art was a stated responsibility of princes; and the cock ring, or wantilan, stood in the center of the village near those other monuments of Gdertz civility–the council house, the origin temple, the marketplace, the signal tower, and the banyan tree.

When spur affixers and geegtz handlers are someone other than the owner, they are almost always a quite close relative–a brother or cousin–or a very intimate friend of his. Addict gamblers are really less declassed for their status is, as everyone else’s, inherited than merely impoverished and personally disgraced. Two Studies in the Cokfight of Interaction Indianapolis,pp.

But to regard such forms as “saying something of something,” and saying it to somebody, is at least to open up the possibility of an analysis which attends to their substance rather than to reductive formulas professing to account for them. In the normal course of things, the Balinese are shy to the point of obsessiveness of open conflict.

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight – Wikipedia

But, as I have argued lengthily elsewhere, the Balinese live in spurts. Thus, the cockfight can be seen as a dramatization and embodiment of wider social dramas in Balinese life. Actually, it is men. Or, if you take the extremes, for very large fights, those with center bets over a hundred ringgits the ratio is 1 to 1 seven and seven ; for very small fights, those under forty ringgits, it is 1.

Sennett — The Craftsman in links, no particular order. About nine or ten separate matches sehet comprise a program. My earlier comment got cut short because I had to leave suddenly, but I had wanted to point out something else.

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“Notes on a Balinese Cockfight” and Donald Trump | Somatosphere

But as ontological questions are or should be bracketed in the sociology of religion, judgmental ones are or should be bracketed in the sociology of art. Whatever game the corner boys play, they nearly always bet on the outcome. The taker tries to shout the giver into longer odds, the giver to shout the taker into shorter ones.

He does not seek to understand symbolic forms in terms of how they function in concrete situations to organize perceptions meanings, emotions, concepts, attitudes ; he seeks to understand them entirely in terms of their internal structure. Thus spared, he returned to dispatch the upstarts, regain the throne, reconstitute the Balinese high tradition, and build its most powerful, glorious, and prosperous state. Further, those who bet on the side including these people are, as I have already remarked, the more established members of the village–the solid citizens.

Also, owner-handler-affixer triads tend to be fairly fixed, though individuals may participate in several and often exchange roles within a given one. We ran down the main village street, northward, away from where we were living, for we were on that side of the ring.

Précis for “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” (Geertz 1973)

Societies have these stories about themselves, and their own ways of seeing them. This apparent amusement and seeming sport is, to take another phrase from Erving Goffman, “a status bloodbath. The old man asks for food, and the hero spends his last coins to buy him some. Think Cold War, Vietnam War, anti-colonial struggles, rampant and sometimes justified suspicion that anthropologists were CIA agents up to God knows what.

Sexual differentiation is culturally extremely played down in Bali and most activities, formal and informal, involve the participation of men and women on equal ground, commonly as linked couples.

Except this is not a short story. See above, Chapter The center bet coalition is, in all but the shallowest games, always made up by structural allies–no “outside money” is involved.

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. Her research focuses on human-nature relations, with a specific emphasis on how natural resources are constructed and contested. Koentjaraningrat, Villages in Indonesia Ithaca,pp.

Aristotle says, never makes any real statements at all. And, again, what statistics I have tend to bear this out. They asked us about it again and again I must have told the story, small detail by small detail, fifty times by the end of the daygently, affectionately, but quite insistently teasing us: Yet what it says is geerhz merely that risk is exciting, loss depressing, or triumph cockfght, banal tautologies of affect, but that it is of these emotions, thus exampled, that society is built and individuals put together.


Logically, the transfer could, of course, as well go the other way; but, like most of the rest of us, the Balinese are a great deal more interested in understanding men than they are in understanding cocks.

In the first place, there are two sorts of bets, or toh. If these men begin to change their calls, others follow; if they begin to make bets, so do others and–though there are cocjfight a large number of frustrated bettors crying for shorter or longer odds to the end–the movement more or less ceases.

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight by Clifford Geertz

In this way, cockfighting is a blood sacrifice to these demons of animality, and they precede temple festivals and holidays in an attempt to keep the demons at bay. Cocks armed with steel spurs sharp enough to cut off a finger or run a hole through a foot were running wildly around. And though to a Benthamite this might seem merely to increase the irrationality of the enterprise that much further, to the Balinese what it mainly increases is the meaningfulness of it all.

The coconut is then sunk twice more and the fight must recommence. Most British fights were “mains,” in which a preagreed number of cocks were aligned into two teams and fought serially. When he talks about culture as text, the text is fully material, like words printed in a book.

In The Interpretation of Cultures Geertz explicitly contrasts his position that symbols are found in public behavior with public meanings to psychological approaches that equate culture with mental models Ward Goodenough or subconscious emotions Culture and Personality studies influenced by Freudthus making culture invisible or a theoretical artifact created by the observer.

Works cited in this post: Chicago,p.

Frye, The Educated Imagination, pp.