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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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I suppose Geertz would admit that the interpretive process is heavily determined by cofkfight sort of outside factors, but he rarely makes this a factor in his writing.

Besides wagering there are other economic aspects of the cockfight, especially its very close connection with the local market system which, though secondary both to its motivation and to its function, are not without importance. In the dozens of cockfights I saw in Bali, I never once saw an altercation about rules.

He indicates his wish to do this by shouting sapih “tie” rather than the cock-type, but such bets are in fact infrequent. A cockfight is what, searching for a name for something not vertebrate enough to be called a group and not structureless enough to be called a crowd, Erving Goffman has called a “focused gathering”–a set of persons engrossed in a common flow of activity and relating to one another in terms of that flow.

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

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

The amounts of money and status involved in the very brief cockfights make Balinese cockfighting “deep play. However, they have a deep identification with their cocks yes, with their cocks and “in identifying with his cock, the Balinese man is identifying not only with his ideal self, or 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”.

Nearly half the matches are relatively trivial, relatively uninteresting–in my borrowed terminology, “shallow”–affairs.

Actually, such “away games,” though infrequent, tend to mend the ruptures between village members that the constantly occurring “home games,” where village factions are opposed rather than united, exacerbate. Only women, children, adolescents, and various other sorts of people who do not or not yet fight cocks–the extremely poor, the socially despised, the personally idiosyncratic–play at these games, at, of course, penny ante levels.

No temple festival should be conducted until one is made. Even impressionistically–the only approach open to a lone ethnographer caught in the middle of all this–it is clear that certain men lead both in determining the favorite that is, making the opening cock-type calls which always initiate the process and in directing the movement of the odds, these cockfihht leaders” being the more accomplished cockfighters-cum-solid-citizens to be discussed below.


For a fuller description of Balinese rural social structure, see C. As for the volume question, total wagering is greater in large-center-bet fights because such fights are considered more “interesting,” not only in the sense that they are less predictable, but, more crucially, that more is at stake in them–in terms of money, in terms of the quality of the cocks, and consequently, as we shall see, in terms of social prestige.

Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” — summary and review. It works in exactly noges same way in Balinese as it does in English, even to producing the same tired jokes, strained puns, and uninventive obscenities.

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Rola brings up an interesting point. 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: Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published.

Though everyone privately regarded him as a fool and worse some, more charitable, regarded him as sickhe was publicly treated with the elaborate deference and politeness due his rank.

When the cocks are placed down, the hero’s flees, and the crowd, led by the arrogant king, hoots in laughter. Even in contexts gefrtz women do not in fact play much of a role–music, painting, certain agricultural activities–their absence, which is only relative in any case, is more a mere matter of fact than socially enforced. Of the fifty-seven matches for which I have exact and reliable data on the center bet, the range is from fifteen ringgits to five hundred, with a mean at eighty-five and with the distribution being rather noticeably trimodal: T he cost is not only monetary, however.

A man who has a passion for cocks, an enthusiast in the literal sense of the term, can spend most of his life with them, and even those, the overwhelming majority, whose passion though intense has not entirely run away with them, can and do spend what seems not only to an outsider, but also to themselves bapinese inordinate amount of time with them.

Yet, because–in another of those paradoxes, along with painted feelings and unconsequenced acts, bslinese haunt aesthetics–that subjectivity does not property exist until it is thus organized, art forms generate and regenerate the very subjectivity they pretend only to display.

Korn, Het Adatrecht van Bali, 2d ed. Everyone in the village knew we had fled like everyone else. But here they portray themselves as wild and murderous, with manic explosions of instinctual cruelty. The center bet is the official one, hedged in again with a webwork of rules, and is made between the two cock owners, with the umpire as overseer and public witness.

Sabungthe word for cock and one which appears in inscriptions as early as A. There is nothing specifically Balinese, of course, about deepening significance with money, as Whyte’s description of corner boys in a working-class district of Boston demonstrates: A marriageable young man still shy with the opposite sex or someone in a new job anxious to make a good impression is called “a fighting cock caged for the first time.


William Roseberry thinks so. A gambler becomes so deranged by his passion that, leaving on a trip, he orders his pregnant wife to take care of the prospective newborn if it is a boy but to feed it as meat to his fighting cocks if it is a girl. Retrieved December 31,from Somatosphere Web site: Nor are winners congratulated, or events rehashed; once a match is ended the crowd’s attention turns totally to the next, with no looking back.

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight – Wikipedia

One thing that I always wonder about the cockfight essay is what Balinese people always think about it. The tag is from the second book of the Organon, On Interpretation. My earlier comment got cut short because I had to leave suddenly, but I had wanted to point out something else.

But except for our landlord and the village chief, whose cousin and brother-in-law he was, everyone ignored us in a way only a Balinese can do. It is, in fact, in balinesd games, ones in which smaller amounts of money are involved, that increments and decrements of cash are more nearly synonyms for utility and disutility, in geeftz ordinary, unexpanded sense–for pleasure and pain, happiness and unhappiness.

But I think the real appeal of this article is the way the reader is drawn into the process of anthropological discovery. As the primary bet rises–the reasoning goes–the more likely it is that the match is in fact an even one, so the side bets go towards the short end of the spectrum.

By the time he is forced to put it back down he is usually drenched in chicken blood, but, as in prize fighting, a good handler is worth his weight in gold. About nine or ten separate matches sehet comprise a program.

The “deep play” of the Balinese cockfight, says Geertz, is like artworks which illustrate an essential insight into our very existence. 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. 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.

For them, and to a degree for ourselves, we were nonpersons, specters, invisible men.