“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. 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. The essay by anthropologist Clifford Geertz, which first appeared in his best- known book The Interpretation of Cultures, has been published in Russian as a.

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During this interval, slightly over two minutes, the handler of the wounded cock has been working frantically over it, like a trainer patching a mauled boxer between rounds, to get it in shape for a last, desperate try balimese victory. Nor can you descend it that way. I have frequently heard men say that the honor of winning was much more important than the money at stake.

Myth, symbol, and culture. On Hogarth, and on this whole problem–there called “multiple matrix matching”–see E. Social tensions are represented through the cockfight, but after all, it’s just a cockfight. 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 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.

The really important wins and losses are seen mostly in other terms, and the general attitude toward wagering is not any hope of cleaning up, of making a killing addict gamblers again exceptedbut that of the horseplayer’s prayer: For the consecration ceremony, see V.

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: Not only were we no longer invisible, we were suddenly the center of all attention, the object of a great outpouring of warmth, interest, and, most especially, amusement.

Chicago,p. If, to quote Northrop Frye again, we go to see Macbeth to learn what a man feels like after he has gained a kingdom and lost his soul, Covkfight 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.

Works cited in this post: Articles needing additional references from June All articles needing additional references. The taker tries to shout the giver into longer odds, the giver to shout the taker into shorter ones.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

But for the Balinese, though naturally they do not formulate it in so many words, the explanation lies in the fact that in such play, money is less a measure of utility, had or expected, than it is a symbol of moral import, perceived or imposed. In fact, the institutionalized hostility relation, puik, is often formally initiated though its causes always lie elsewhere by such a “pardon me” bet in a deep fight, putting the symbolic fat in the fire.


What he learns there is what his culture’s ethos and his private sensibility or, anyway, certain aspects of them look like when spelled out externally in a collective text; that the two are near enough alike to be articulated in the symbolics of a single such text; and–the disquieting part–that the text in which this revelation is accomplished consists of a chicken hacking another mindlessly to bits.

But it is only an apparent one, for, rather than taking myths, totem rites, marriage rules, or whatever as texts to interpret. Notes on the Balinese Cockfight. 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.

It is a matter of relative relaxation of the pressures toward equalization, not their elimination. They are both in over their heads. No temple festival should be conducted until one is made. 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.

Rola brings up an interesting point.

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight by Clifford Geertz

For Bentham and those who think as he does nowadays mainly lawyers, economists, and a few psychiatriststhe explanation is, as I have said, that such plaj are irrational–addicts, fetishists, children, fools, savages, who need only to be protected against themselves. 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 conceptual wires; the established 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.

A cockfight, any cockfight, is in the first instance a blood sacrifice offered, with the appropriate chants and oblations, to the demons in order to pacify their ravenous, cannibal hunger. Participants of the “deep fights” are usually dominant members of society. When a Balinese male talks, in that almost venerative way, cocfight “the true cockfighter,” the bebatoh “bettor” or djuru kurung “cage keeper”it is this balinse of person, not those who bring the mentality of the pea-and-shell game into the quite different, inappropriate context of the cockfight, the driven gambler potet, a word which has the secondary meaning of thief or reprobateand the wistful hanger-on, that they mean.

To learn that Balinese lose themselves in cockfights, which are, at least from one perspective, exemplars of selves they want to be, victors in short, bloody, violent conflicts that elevate status may contribute to our understanding of why Bali, now normally seen as a beautiful tourist trap inhabited by lovely people with an extraordinary level of self-control, was, shortly after WWII, the scene of massacres that killed I need to check the numbers around 80, people.


Anthro Classics Online: Geertz’s Notes on the Balinese Cockfight | Savage Minds

It is, actually, in the smaller, shallow fights, geertz one finds the handful of more pure, addict-type gamblers involved–those who are in it mainly for the money–that “real” changes in social position, largely downward, are affected. If he is certain in ballnese 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. So far as money is concerned, the explicitly expressed attitude toward it is that it is a secondary matter.

If, as sometimes happens, the animals have not fought during this time, they are picked up, fluffed, pulled, prodded, and balinsse insulted, and put back in the center of the ring and the process begins again.

Bateson and Mead, Balinese Character, pp. When he found his nktes again he asked, approximately, what in the devil did we think we were doing there. We moved into an extended family compound that had been arranged before through the provincial government belonging to one of the four major factions in village life.

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight

Nearly half the matches are relatively trivial, relatively uninteresting–in my borrowed terminology, “shallow”–affairs. Has an Dep scholar written a reaction to the piece? We attribute grandeur, wit, despair, exuberance to strings of sounds; lightness, energy, violence, fluidity to blocks of stone. 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 cliffor will remember the day plag did in Pan Loh’s finest cock for years.

It is, in fact, in shallow 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 the ordinary, unexpanded sense–for pleasure and pain, happiness and unhappiness.

Sennett — The Craftsman in cljfford, no particular order. The spurs affixed, the two cocks are placed by their handlers who may or may not be their owners facing one another in the center of the ring.

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. Two Studies in the Sociology of Interaction Indianapolis,pp. The rule about borrowing cliford you may borrow for a bet but not in one–stems and the Balinese are quite conscious of this from similar considerations: