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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Cockfights are illegal and the sudden appearance of the police during one of the first fights Geertz and his wife witnessed sent everyone scurrying home:. William Roseberry thinks so. The madness has some less visible dimensions, however, because although it is true that cocks are symbolic expressions or magnifications of their owner’s self, the narcissistic male ego writ out in Aesopian terms, they are also expressions–and rather more immediate ones–of what the Balinese regard as the direct inversion, aesthetically, morally, and metaphysically, of human status: You must bet on cocks of feertz own group aside from mere loyalty considerations, for if you do not people generally will say, “What!
The center bet coalition is, in all but the shallowest games, always made up by structural allies–no “outside money” is involved. If we see ourselves as a pack of Micawbers, it is from reading too much Dickens if we see ourselves as unillusioned realists, it is from reading too little ; and similarly for Balinese, cocks, and cockfights.
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 gdertz.
And finally, there are those, the really substantial members of the community, the solid citizenry around whom local life revolves, who fight in the larger fights and bet on them around the side. Assuming only binomial variability, the departure from a fifty-fifty expectation in the sixty-ringgits-and-below case is 1. Not only defecation but eating is regarded as a disgusting, almost obscene activity, to be conducted hurriedly and privately, because of its association with animality.
In this case, however, perhaps because they were raising money for a school that the government was geerrz to give them, perhaps because raids had been few recently, perhaps, as I gathered from subsequent discussion, there was a notion that the necessary bribes had been paid, they thought they could take a chance on the central square and draw a larger and more enthusiastic crowd without attracting the attention of the law.
Like a lot of people I read the Balinese cockfight article in my anthropological youth and I remember enjoying it although the Person, Time, and Conduct essay in that same volume was the one that really captured my attention.
And in Wales, the so-called Welsh main followed an elimination pattern, along the lines of a present-day tennis tournament, winners proceeding to the next round. Slightly cockright these people in standing are those who, though they do not themselves fight cocks, bet on the smaller matches around the edges. But, filled with misgivings due to his run of ill luck, he leaves his own cock at home and bets merely on the side.
In any case, the attempt to deprovincialize the concept of art is but part of the general anthropological conspiracy to deprovincialize all important social concepts–marriage, religion.
Frye, The Educated Imagination, pp. Only exceptionally well-trusted, solid, and, given the complexity of the code, knowledgeable citizens perform this job, and in fact men cockfivht bring their cocks only to fights presided over by such men.
T he cost is not only monetary, however. Geertz compares it to a text, one that can be analyzed and understood.
Considered Cckfight most seminal work, the essay addresses the meaning of cockfighting in Balinese culture. By the same token, you rarely get geretz cocks from the same group, even more rarely from the same subfaction, and virtually never from the same sub-subfaction which would be in most cases one extended family fighting.
Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight
The elite, which is not itself so very puritan, worries about the poor, ignorant peasant gambling all his money away, about what foreigners will think, about the waste of time better devoted to building up the country. Balinese men, or anyway a large majority of Balinese men, spend an enormous amount of time with their favorites, grooming them, feeding them, discussing them, bainese them out against one another, or just gazing at them with a mixture of rapt admiration and dreamy self-absorption.
You seldom get two outsider cocks fighting, or two cocks with no particular group backing, or with group backing which is mutually unrelated in any clear way.
The Balinese attempt to create an interesting, if you will, “deep,” match by ckckfight 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.
The first is a matter of deliberate, very quiet, almost furtive arrangement by the coalition members and the umpire huddled like conspirators in the center of the ring; the second is a matter of impulsive shouting, public offers, and public acceptances by the excited throng around its edges.
The cockfight is “really real” only to the cocks–it does not kill anyone, castrate anyone, reduce anyone to animal status, alter the hierarchical relations among people, or refashion the hierarchy; it does not even redistribute income in any significant way.
My wife and I were still very much in the gust of wind geegtz, a most frustrating, and even, as you soon begin to doubt whether you are really real after all, unnerving one, when, ten days or so after our arrival, a large cockfight was held in the public square to raise money for a new school.
Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight by Clifford Geertz
Articles needing additional references from June All articles needing additional references. The rule about borrowing money–that you may borrow for a bet but not in one–stems and the Balinese are quite conscious of this from similar considerations: 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.
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 “deep play” of the Balinese cockfight, says Geertz, is like artworks which illustrate an essential insight into our very existence.
Almost always odds calling starts off toward the the long end of the range–five-to-four or four-to-three–and then moves toward the shorter end with greater or less speed and to a greater and lesser degree.
The spurs are affixed by winding a long length of string around the foot of the spur and the leg of the cock. An image, fiction, a model, a metaphor, the cockfight is a means of expression; its function is neither to assuage social passions nor to heighten them though, in its playing-with-fire way it does a bit of bothbut, in a medium of feathers, blood, crowds, and money, to display them.
The poet’s job is not to tell you what happened, but what happens: That makes a lot more sense, and, in my case, explains why, when I went looking for how to produce a thick description, I turned to Victor Turner.
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. If your kin group is not involved you will support an allied kingroup against an unallied one in the same way, and so on through the very involved networks of alliances which, as I say, make up this, as any other, Balinese village.
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. The whole passage, as it takes us back to Aristotle though to the Poetics rather than the Hermeneuticsis worth quotation: