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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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. And they are handled, both in use and out, with the same curious combination of fussiness and sensuality the Balinese direct toward ritual objects generally. We may have moved away from the type of culturalism that ignores the political and economic context, but it seems pretty banal cocifight point this out, at least in American anthropology French anthropology being another story.

We look forward to seeing you from January 2. Some of them can virtually make the dead walk, ballnese least long enough for the second and final round. The native is not the only one affected by this context.

What it balinesse is what, for other peoples with other temperaments and other conventions, Lear and Crime and Punishment do; it catches up these themes–death, masculinity, rage, pride, loss, beneficence, chance–and, ordering them into an encompassing structure, presents notws in such a way as to throw into relief a particular view of their essential nature.

The center bet must be advanced in cash by both parties prior to the actual fight. 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 surrounded by such an air of unease, furtiveness, embarrassment, and so on. By balinrse same token, you rarely get two cocks from the same group, even more rarely from the same subfaction, and virtually never from the same sub-subfaction which would be in cockfighht cases one extended family fighting.

What, as we have already seen, the cockfight talks most forcibly about is status relationships, and what it says about them is that they are matters of life and death. But it is a momentary gain or lost, the statues is only gained or lost momentarily following the fight but is maintained in the long cockfibht, with cockfights assisting in making sure of that. If it is omitted someone will inevitably fall into a trance and command with the voice of an angered spirit that the oversight be immediately corrected.

He does not despair, however–“I bet,” he says, eeep the Unseen World.

Fighting always takes place between people and cocks from opposing social groups family, clan, village etc. Later their son, released by Siva, also returns and the hero-king announces his intention to enter a hermitage. Having come together in search of baoinese they have entered into a relationship which will bring the participants, considered collectively, net pain rather than net pleasure.


William Roseberry thinks so. Even falling down or any form of clumsiness is considered to be bad for these reasons. The Balinese do not breed cocks to any significant extent, nor, so far as I have been able to discover, have they ever done so. Not only was he there, but he was embraced by the members of the society who loved his clumsy ways.

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight – Wikipedia

Geertz distinguishes “deep fights”, with high wages, and “shallow fights”, usually with low wages of both gambling and prestige. The question why such matches are interesting–indeed, for the Balinese, exquisitely absorbing–takes us out of the realm of formal concerns into more broadly sociological and social-psychological ones, and balinsee a less purely economic idea of cockfibht “depth” in gaming amounts to. Scott, History of Cockfighting London, ; and L. The interpretatio naturae tradition of the middle ages, nalinese, 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 nootes one of the latent, all offer precedents, if not equally recommendable ones.

Men crying “five” and finding themselves answered only with cries of “brown” start crying “six. The superorganism cokcfight instantly apart as its components scattered in all directions. If, to quote Northrop Frye plau, we go to see Macbeth to learn what a man feels like after he has gained a kingdom and lost his soul, Balinese go to cockfights to find out what a man, usually composed, aloof, almost obsessively self-absorbed, a kind of moral autocosm, feels like when, attacked, tormented, challenged, insulted, and driven in result to the extremes of fury, he has totally triumphed or been brought totally low.

Rola brings up an interesting point. And as to follow Weber rather than Bentham the imposition of meaning on life is the major end and primary condition of human existence, that access of significance more than compensates for the economic costs involved.

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight

The Hague,index under toh. It is little wonder that when, as is the invariable rule, the owner of the winning cock takes the carcass of the loser–often torn limb from limb by its enraged owner–home to eat, he does so with a mixture of social embarrassment, moral satisfaction, aesthetic disgust, and cannibal joy. Finally, the Balinese peasants themselves are quite aware of all this and can and, at least to an ethnographer, do state most of it in approximately the same terms as I have.

The idea of culture as a set of symbols that we share back and forth seems almost custom-designed to avoid the kinds of political economic analysis Rola and myself would like to see. That is, if he shouts gasal, “five,” he wants the underdog at five-to-four or, for him, four-to-five ; if he shouts “four,” he wants it at four-to-three again, he putting up the “three”if “nine” at nine-to-eight, and so on.

The fights both represent and take part in forming the social and cultural structure of the Balinese people which are dramatized through the cockfight.

And, perhaps most important of all, for the other things might have come in other ways, it put me very quickly on to a combination emotional explosion, status war, and philosophical drama of central significance to the society whose inner nature I desired to understand. And most curiously, and as we shall see most revealingly, where the first is always, without exception, even money, the second, equally without exception, is never such.


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: Each match is precisely like the others in general pattern: The article starts with a heart-pounding chase.

The Balinese attempt to create an interesting, if you will, “deep,” match by making the center bet as large as possible so that the cocks matched will be as equal and as fine as possible, and the outcome, thus, as unpredictable as possible.

On the enormous role of kinesthetic perception in Balinese life. Does he have to go to Java or Den Pasar [the capital town] to bet, he is such an important man? Balinese culture Anthropology literature Cockfighting.

The old man then asks to pass the night with plwy hero, which the hero gladly invites him to do. One thing that I always wonder about the cockfight essay is what Balinese people always think about it. Just which of these considerations leads to which, in what order, and by what mechanisms, is another matter–one I have attempted to shed some light on in the general discussion. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.

The first cockfight that he and his wife viewed was broken up by the police. Cockfights are open events to which anyone who wishes may come, sometimes from quite distant areas, but well over 90 percent, probably over 95, are very local affairs, and the locality concerned is defined not by the village, nor even by the administrative district, but by the rural market system.

Now, a few special occasions aside, cockfights are illegal in Bslinese under the Republic as, for not altogether nalinese reasons, they were under the Dutchlargely as a result of the pretensions to puritanism radical nationalism tends to bring with it.

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 of 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 Balinese civility–the council house, the origin temple, the marketplace, the signal tower, and the banyan tree.

Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” is one of Clifford Geertz’s most influential articles which illustrates not only the meaning of a given cultural phenomenon, the Balinese cockfight, but also Geertz’s interpretative approach that sees a culture as a set of texts to be read by the anthropologist.

On Hogarth, and on this whole problem–there called “multiple matrix matching”–see E. On the independence of personal reputation and public status in Bali, see above, Chapter