“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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It is a matter of relative relaxation of the pressures toward equalization, not their elimination.

Likened to a judge, a king, a priest, and a policeman, he is all of these, and under his assured direction the animal passion of the fight proceeds within the civic certainty of the law. As noted earlier, at most cockfights there are, around the very edges of the cockfight area, a large number of mindless, sheer-chance type gambling games roulette, dice throw, coin-spin, pea-under-the-shell operated by concessionaires.

A man virtually never bets against a cock owned by a member of his own kingroup. Whatever game the corner boys play, they nearly always bet on the outcome. Jaya Prana, the subject of a Balinese Uriah myth, responds to the lord who has offered him the loveliest of six hundred servant girls: 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.

Considered Geertz’s most seminal work, the essay addresses the meaning of cockfighting in Balinese culture. For the consecration ceremony, see V. Goris, Prasasti Bali, 2 vols. Nor can you descend it that way.

The policeman retreated in rather total disarray. In time, the hero decides to visit his son and collect the promised cock. Belo New York, originally published inpp. It was the turning point so far as our relationship to the community was concerned, and we were quite literally “in. 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.

I think that the word statues must be replaced with status in the 4th paragraph. Set not in the matrix of the kinetic emotionality cockfigyt animals, but in that of the static passionlessness of divine mentality, it expresses tranquillity not disquiet.

There is a special word for betting against the grain, which is also the word for “pardon me” mpura. In the case at hand, to treat the cockfight as a text is to bring out a feature of it in my opinion, the central feature of it that treating it as a rite or a pastime, the two most obvious alternatives, would tend to obscure: 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 men are irrational–addicts, fetishists, children, fools, savages, who need geeetz to be protected against themselves.


Hughes, Indonesian Upheaval New York,pp.

Savage Minds

He persuades me that thick description is better than the thin explanations that anthropologist typically provide but offers no criteria for deciding when one description is better than another. And, again, what statistics I have tend to bear this out.

We may have moved away from the type of culturalism that ignores the political and economic context, but it seems pretty banal to point this out, at least in American anthropology Notex anthropology being another story. And though to ob Benthamite this might seem merely to increase the irrationality of the enterprise that much further, to the Balinese what pllay mainly increases is the meaningfulness of it all.

After a fight has ended and the emotional debris is cleaned away–the bets paid, the curses cursed, the carcasses possessed–seven, eight, perhaps even a dozen men slip negligently into the ring with a cock and seek to find there a logical opponent for it.

The tendency for high-bet contests to be coin-flip propositions is, of course, even more striking, and suggests the Balinese know quite well what they are about. For any given currency cliffodd, like the ringgit, therefore, 6.

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight by Brooke Drover on Prezi

What makes Balinese cockfighting deep is thus not money in itself, but what, the more of it that is involved the more so, money causes to happen: But above all, everyone was extremely pleased and even more surprised that we had not simply “pulled out our papers” they knew about those too and asserted our Distinguished Visitor status, but had instead demonstrated our solidarity with what were now our covillagers.

In some ways Geertz is one of the most well known anthropologists outside of the discipline, but my sense is that his influence within the discipline itself has waned. The first cockfight that he and his wife viewed was broken up by the police. If one takes the cockfight, or any other xockfight sustained symbolic structure, as a feertz of “saying something of something” to invoke a famous Aristotelian tagthen one is faced with a problem not in social mechanics but social semantics.

HyperGeertz-Text: Deep_Play

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. To me most of the articles in Understanding Culture share a common feature: A marriageable young man still shy balnese the opposite sex or someone in a new job anxious to make a good impression is called “a fighting cock caged nltes the first time.

Seeing my wife and I, “White Men,” there in the yard, the policeman performed a classic double take.

Yet what it says is not merely that risk is exciting, loss depressing, or triumph gratifying, banal tautologies of affect, but that it is of these emotions, thus exampled, that society is built and individuals are put together.


Clifford Geertz — was an American anthropologist and sociologist, who wrote extensively on traditional cultures and religions in Southeast Asia and North America. Nor is it the only way that symbolic forms can be sociologically handled. He indicates his wish to do this by shouting sapih “tie” rather than the cock-type, but such bets are in fact infrequent. If, to quote Northrop Frye cllifford, we go to see Macbeth to learn what a man feels like after he has gained a kingdom and lost his soul, Balinese 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 cockfighr been brought totally low.

Subscribe to our mailing list and get the latest news from Garage. In genuine deep play, this is the veertz for both parties. Views Read Edit View history. There is the matchmaking, there is the betting, there is the fight, botes is the result–utter triumph and utter defeat–and there is the hurried, embarrassed passing of money.

Indeed, I never saw an open altercation, other than those between cocks, at all. The actual cockfight is a human competition, delegated heertz animals, where the winner gets respect and admiration from the others, while money although Geertz thd describe the complex betting system in great detail is secondary. For Geertz, culture is mainly psychological and personal.

When he talks about culture as text, the text is fully material, like words printed in a book. During the s, commentaries on the Balinese cockfight essay have become quite common, developing, for the most part, in apparent independence…. The cocks die from the food given them, the owner’s sanity is restored, the goddess brings the girl back to the father, who reunites him with his wife.

Our impressions of human life are picked up one by one, and remain for most of us loose and disorganized. As in more familiar exercises in close reading, one can start anywhere in a culture’s repertoire of forms and end up anywhere else. When the cocks are placed down, the hero’s flees, and the crowd, led by the arrogant king, hoots in laughter.

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.

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