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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For it is only apparently cocks that are fighting there.

Rather than the solemn, legalistic pactmaking of the center, wagering takes place rather in the fashion in which the stock exchange used to work when it was out on the curb. The superorganism came instantly apart as its components scattered in all directions.

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

We look forward to seeing you from January 2. Moreover, we had not seen the village chief all day, he must have gone to town. 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 man who nootes the underdog cock shouts the short-side number indicating the odds he wants to be given.

Alsia timon February balknese, at Notfs 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.

Author Clifford Geertz — was an American anthropologist and sociologist, who wrote extensively on traditional cultures and religions in Southeast Asia and North America. If the narrative of this election were written as a short story, with actual events and quotes worked into the plot, an English class somewhere would analyze it as a feminist commentary — where the sexism of mainstream society is made visible through ongoing instances of explicit phallocentrism.

The cockfights are illegal but widespread, with cocks — roosters — serving as proxies for powerful men and their status competition. The first is typically large; the second typically small.

Pr&#;cis for “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” (Geertz ) – EM-Journal

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. 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.

In deep cockfights an owner and his collaborators, noyes, as we shall see, to a lesser but still quite real extent also their backers on the outside, put their money where their status is. The fights both represent and take part in forming the social and cultural structure of the Balinese people which are dramatized through the cockfight. Within moments one or the other drives home a solid blow with his spur. They are, these addicts, regarded as fair game for the genuine enthusiasts, those who do understand, to take a little money away from–something that is easy enough to do by luring them, through the force of their greed, into irrational bets on mismatched cocks.


Thus, the cockfight can be seen as a dramatization and coxkfight of wider social dramas in Balinese life. 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.

A man who admits to and brags about sexual assault is about to be inaugurated instead of a woman widely considered the most qualified presidential candidate in history. The birds are also seen as the embodiment of what the Balinese see as the opposite of humanity–animality.

If he is certain in his mind that it will not win, he may just not bet at all, particularly if it is only a second cousin’s bird or if the fight is a shallow one. Notes on the Balinese Cockfight. A desperate man who makes a last, irrational effort to extricate himself from an impossible situation is likened to a dying cock who makes one final lunge at his tormentor to drag him along to a common destruction. A man who has a passion for cocks, an enthusiast in the literal sense of the term, can spend most coxkfight his life with them, and even those, the overwhelming majority, whose passion though geerttz has not entirely run away with them, can and do spend what seems not only to an outsider, but also to themselves an inordinate amount of time with them.

Second, the Balinese do not mathematically reduce odds, but bet directly in terms of stated odds as such. Belo New York, originally published inpp.

Frye, The Educated Imagination Bloomington. For these, see V. That what the cockfight has to say about Bali is not altogether without perception and ba,inese disquiet it expresses about the general pattern of Balinese life is not wholly without reason is attested by the fact that in two weeks of Decemberduring the upheavals following the unsuccessful coup in Djakarta, between forty and eighty thousand Balinese in a balinsee of about two million were killed, largely by one another–the worst outburst in the country.

Unknown November 29, at From January 7 it will be open as usual. Functionalism lives, and so does psychologism.

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight

The first is to draw the audience into the society along with the anthropologist. Not only are there a great many other cultural texts providing commentaries on status hierarchy and self-regard in Bali, but there are a great many other critical sectors of Balinese life besides the stratificatory and the agonistic that receive such commentary.

Bali, mainly because it is Bali, is a well-studied place. These rules, together with the developed lore of cocks and cockfighting which accompanies them, are written down motes palm leaf manuscripts lontar; rontal passed on from generation to generation as part of the general legal and cultural tradition of the villages.

In identifying with his cock, the Balinese man is identifying not just with gertz ideal self, balihese even his penis, but also, and at the same time, with what he most fears, hates, and ambivalence being what it is, is fascinated by– The Powers of Darkness. 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 balinexe in Pan Loh’s finest cock for years.


To come round full circle, it may be worth gefrtz the material and political conditions of fieldwork in the s, 60s and 70s.

All this is again recorded in palm-leaf manuscripts and endlessly discussed by the Balinese who do 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.

When the truck drove up he ran to the river, stripped off his sarong, and plunged in so he could say, when at length blainese found him sitting there pouring water over his head, that he had been away bathing when the whole affair had occurred and was ignorant of it. 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 bzlinese wires; the nores 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.

But here they portray themselves as wild and murderous, blainese manic explosions of instinctual cruelty.

Even the Brahmana priest, an old, grave, half-way-to-Heaven type who because of its associations with the underworld would never be involved, even distantly, in a cockfight, and was difficult to approach even to other Balinese, had us called into his courtyard to ask us about what had happened, chuckling happily at the sheer extraordinariness of it all.

There are primary bets between competitors and side bets between spectators. Men crying “five” and finding themselves answered only with cries of “brown” start crying “six. You wouldn’t go to Macbeth to learn about the history of Scotland–you go to it to learn what a man feels like after he’s gained a kingdom and lost his soul.

The Balinese cockfight is, as Geertz puts it, a way of playing with fire without getting burned. Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” was written The question of how it is that we perceive qualities in things-paintings, books, melodies, plays–that we do not feel we can assert literally to be there has come, in recent years, into the very center of aesthetic theory.

The primary bets are always even money, while the odds for side bets will change based on the amount of the primary bet.

The story is given as “Geel Komkommertje” in J. But the larger the bet and the more frequently geettz do it, the more the “pardon me” tack will lead to social disruption.