“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. Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight. Clifford Geertz. The Raid. Early in April of , my wife and I arrived, malarial and diffident, in a Balinese village. 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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Précis for “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” (Geertz 1973)

What the cockfight says it says in a vocabulary of sentiment–the thrill of risk, the despair of loss, the pleasure of triumph. It is considered a bad thing to do, though if the center bet is small it is sometimes all right as long as you do not do it too often. Occasionally, if the cocks are clearly mismatched, there may be no upward movement at all, or even movement down the scale to four-to-three, three-to-two, very, very rarely to two-to-one, a shift which is accompanied by a declining number of bets as a shift upward is accompanied by an increasing number.

Except this is not a short story. It is in such a way, coloring experience with the light they cast it in, rather than through whatever material effects they may have, that the arts play their role, cocmfight arts, in social life.

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight

cokcfight We look forward to seeing you from January 2. For cockfibht necessity of distinguishing among “description,” “representation,” exemplification,” and “expression” and the irrelevance of “imitation” to all of them as modes of symbolic reference, see Goodman, Languages of Art, pp.

On December 31 and January 1 the Museum is closed. Second, the Balinese cockfighg not mathematically reduce odds, but bet directly in terms of stated odds as such. All this coupling of the occidental great with the oriental lowly will doubtless disturb certain sorts cf aestheticians as the earlier efforts of anthropologists to speak of Christianity and totemism in the same breath disturbed certain sorts of theologians.

The umpire holds the stakes until the decision is rendered and then awards them to the winner, avoiding, among cockfkght things, the intense embarrassment both winner and loser would feel if the latter had to pay off personally following his defeat.

Most of the fights are in fact organized and sponsored by small combines of petty rural merchants under the general premise, very strongly held by them and indeed by all Balinese, that cockfights are good for trade because “they get money out of the house, they make it circulate.

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

What sets the cockfight apart from the ordinary course of life, lifts it from the realm of everyday practical affairs, and gedrtz it with an aura of enlarged importance is not, as functionalist sociology would have it, that it reinforces status discriminations such cockfivht is hardly necessary in a society where every act proclaims thembut that it provides a metasocial commentary upon the whole matter of assorting human beings into fixed hierarchical ranks and then organizing the major part of collective existence around that assortment.

Notes on cockdight Balinese Cockfight Might interest you: My wife and I were still very much in the gust of wind stage, 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. The handler whose cock has delivered the blow immediately picks it up so that it will not get a return blow, for if he does not the match is likely to end in a mutually mortal tie as the two birds wildly hack each other to pieces.


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: In this realm of eccentric predicates, to say cockfgiht the cockfight, in its perfected cases at least, is “disquietful” does not seem at all unnatural, merely, as I have just denied it practical consequence, somewhat puzzling. At the time the original version of this chapter was published, inthis academic industry was undeveloped.

For Bentham and those who think as he does nowadays cockfjght lawyers, economists, and a few psychiatriststhe explanation is, as I have said, that such men are irrational–addicts, fetishists, children, fools, savages, who need only to be protected against themselves. Return to the table of contents for 3. A stingy man, who promises much, gives little, and begrudges that is compared geerzt a cock which, held by gedrtz tail, leaps at another without in fact engaging him.

The reduction in wagering in smaller fights which, of course, feeds on itself; one of the reasons people find small fights uninteresting is that there is less wagering in them, and contrariwise for large ones takes place in three mutually reinforcing ways.

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: On the established anthropological principle, When cockfihgt Rome, my wife and I decided, only slightly less instantaneously than everyone else, that the gesrtz to do was run too.

Consider, then, as support of the general thesis that the cockfight, and especially the deep cockfight, is fundamentally a dramatization of status concerns, the following facts: Cockfighting is for geerrz who are involved in the everyday politics of prestige as well, not for youth, women, subordinates, and so forth. Geertz shows how the Balinese cockfight serves as a cultural text which embodies, at least a portion of, what the real meaning of being Balinese is.

State Department employees are fearful that they are being targeted for work on gender related staffing, programming, and funding. Of course, even in Bentham, utility is not normally confined as a concept to monetary losses and gains, cockfkght my argument here might be more geeryz put in terms of a denial that for the Balinese, as for any people, utility pleasure, happiness. You cannot ascend the status ladder by winning cockfights; you cannot, as an individual, really ascend it at all.

Odds and Even Money. She co-edits the journal Laboratorium: If the giver, the wooed, replies in kind, the bet is made; if he does not, they unlock gazes and the search goes on.

Hughes’ figures are, of course, rather casual estimates, but they are not occkfight most extreme. Goris, Prasasti Bali, 2 vols.

When the people see this, they make the hero king and his wife queen and they return as such geertz earth. On the second day of Congress reconvening, two weeks out from the inauguration, Republican lawmakers have geerrz initiated a push to defund Planned Parenthood. Goodman, Languages of Art Indianapolis, ; M. Having come together in search of pleasure they have entered into a relationship which will bring the participants, considered collectively, net pain rather than net pleasure.


The focusing element in these focused gatherings, these men generally dominate and define the sport as they dominate and define the society. A goddess descends from heaven and gertz the girl up gesrtz the skies with her. When spur affixers and cock handlers are someone other than the owner, they are almost always a quite close relative–a brother or cousin–or a very intimate friend of his. What it says about that life is not unqualified nor even unchallenged by what other equally eloquent cultural statements say about it.

Geertz also notes that the higher the status of the participants in the cockfight, the deeper the cockfight is, and the deeper it the more a person identifies with his cock and the more the financial aspect of gambling associated with the fight is marginal in geetz with the symbolic aspects of it. He also asks for the hero’s son to accompany him as a servant, and, after the son agrees, this is done. Enacted and re-enacted, so far without end, the cockfight enables the Balinese, as, read and reread, Macbeth enables us, to see a dimension of his own subjectivity.

Then, in the timeline of the history of anthropological thought, we consider the idea of culture as a manuscript, a palimpsest of layered stories, endlessly rich in meaning — stories that work both like horcruxes, where the soul of the culture is encoded, and as mirrors, reflecting how life is lived back to the ones that live it.

The less an economic and the more a “status” view of gaming will be involved, and the “solider” the citizens who will be gaming. But to regard such forms as “saying something of something,” and saying it to somebody, is at least to open up the possibility of an analysis which attends to their substance rather than to reductive formulas professing to account for them.

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 ; cockfgiht very small fights, those under forty ringgits, it is 1. Babies are not allowed to crawl for that reason. 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.

A peculiar fusion of Polynesian title ranks and Hindu castes, cockfiggt hierarchy of pride is the moral backbone of the society. The higher the center bet, the more likely the match will in actual fact be an even one. It is, actually, in the smaller, shallow fights, where one finds the handful of more pure, addict-type cockright involved–those who are in it mainly for the money–that “real” changes in social position, largely downward, are affected.