Perhaps one of the most widely read anthropological essays, “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” by Clifford Geertz is available. Shortly after the election, I taught “Notes on a Balinese Cockfight” to my Anthropological Theory class, as I always do, at that point in the. “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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Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight by Clifford Geertz

Unlike osme of the more recent commentaries, this essay is directed at a more political understanding of culture. That what the cockfight has to say about Bali is not altogether without perception and the disquiet it expresses about the general pattern of Balinese life is not wholly without reason is attested by the fact [what a marvellous example of passive voice and absence of the author] that in two weeks of Decemberduring the upheavals following the unsuccessful coup in Djakarta, between forty and eighty thousand Balinese in a population of about two million were killed, largely by one another—the worst outburst in the country.

Yes, he writes about cocks exactly for the reason you think. Articles needing additional references from June All articles needing additional references. Except this is not a short story.

This is not hyperbole. Geertz distinguishes “deep fights”, with high wages, and “shallow fights”, usually with low wages of both gambling and prestige. To come round full circle, it may be worth remembering the material and political conditions of fieldwork in the s, 60s and 70s.

The actual cockfight is a human competition, delegated to animals, where the winner gets respect and admiration from the others, while money although Geertz does describe the complex betting system in great detail is secondary.

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. It channels aggression and rivalry into an indirect symbolic sphere of engagement. Social tensions are represented through the cockfight, but after all, it’s just a cockfight. Garage Library is closed from December 30 to January 6. The first is to draw the audience into the society along with the anthropologist.


Her research focuses on human-nature relations, with a specific emphasis on how natural resources are constructed and contested.

Subscribe to our mailing list and get the latest news from Garage. Works cited in this post: The man could not have been more appropriately named if we were in a medieval morality play and at times it felt like we were.

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight

Is any of what Roseberry is cockight new? His discussion of the role of sexual [gender? The first cockfight that he and his wife viewed was broken up by the police. He even notes that the wordplay where a cock is both a rooster and a penis exists in Balinese just as it does in English.

The problem is to learn how to read them, not to decipher something else going on behind the scenes. ANd, of course the fact that we can still develop cockfighg pretty hearty discussion suggests that the issues raised by Geertz around the time I was born are still far from totally settled. It was, moreover, still possible for people who talked too openly about certain topics to get a knock on the door in the middle of the night. Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” was written Notify me of new posts by email.

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.

Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” is that a people’s culture is an ensemble of rituals which are in themselves ensembles, and these texts are what the anthropologist is trying to decipher. On the second day of Congress reconvening, two weeks out from the inauguration, Republican lawmakers have already initiated a push to defund Planned Parenthood.

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight – Wikipedia

Deep Play is a study of the Balinese tradition of cockfighting, based on a year of anthropological research conducted by Geertz at the end of the s, when he balimese his wife lived in Bali, attending the illegal but very popular cockfights and coockfight people involved in them. Considered Geertz’s nalinese seminal work, the essay addresses the meaning of cockfighting in Balinese culture.


I am also curious if there might be cockfitht manuscript — symbolic or not — that connects the state-opposed cock fighting space described by Geertz and the state-sponsored gerrymandering spaces that led to the electoral win for Trump?

He persuades me that thick description is better than the thin explanations that anthropologist typically provide but offers no criteria for deciding when one description is better than another. To ask of any cultural text, be it a cockfight or a folktale, who is talking, who is being talked to, what is being talked about, and what form of action is being called for, is to move cultural analysis to a new level that renders the old antinomies of materialism and idealism irrelevant.

Cultural Reader: Clifford Geertz: “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” – summary and review

The last half of the essay describes the rituals of betting and concludes that the cockfight is the Balinese comment on themselves, as it embodies the network of social relationships in kin and village that govern traditional Balinese life.

On the established anthropological principle, When in Rome, my wife and I decided, only slightly less instantaneously than everyone else, that the thing to do was run too. Cockfigbt an Indonesian scholar written a reaction to the piece? People never bet against a cock from their own reference group. The effectiveness of symbols is not only for the kind of shamanic healing Levi-Strauss describes — it is also for undoing the material infrastructure and fabric of reality, particularly its fraught and contested patches.