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. 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.
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He blows in its mouth, putting the whole chicken head in his own mouth and sucking and blowing, fluffs it, stuffs its wounds with various sorts of medicines, and generally tries anything he can think of to arouse the last ounce of spirit which may be hidden somewhere within it. In The Interpretation of Cultures Geertz explicitly contrasts his position that symbols are found in public behavior with public meanings to psychological approaches that equate culture with mental models Ward Goodenough or subconscious emotions Culture and Personality studies influenced by Freudthus making culture invisible or a theoretical artifact created by the observer.
More Geertz online at HyperGeertz.
Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight by Clifford Geertz
Percy, “Metaphor as Mistake,” Sewanee Review 66 Newer Post Older Post Home. Any expressive form works when it works by disarranging semantic contexts in such a way that properties conventionally ascribed to certain things are unconventionally ascribed to others, which are then seen actually to possess them. The hero’s cock then flies at the king himself, killing him with a spur stab in the throat. When you do get them, the game is very shallow, betting very slow, and the whole thing very dull, with no one save the immediate principals and an addict gambler or two at all interested.
I have never seen an umpire’s judgment questioned on any subject, even by the more despondent losers, nor have I ever heard, even in private, a charge of unfairness directed against one, or, for that matter, complaints about umpires in general.
The focusing element in these focused gatherings, these men generally dominate and define the sport as they dominate and define the society. Chicago,p.
Assuming only binomial variability, the departure from a fifty-fifty expectation in the sixty-ringgits-and-below case is 1. The Balinese do not breed cocks to any significant extent, nor, so far as I have been able to discover, have they ever done so.
For the situation, the floor is itself created, in jury deliberations, surgical operations, block meetings, sitins, cockfights, by the cultural preoccupations–here, as we shall see, the celebration of status rivalry–which not only specify the focus but, assembling actors and arranging scenery, bring it actually into being.
It works in exactly the same way in Balinese as it does in English, even to producing the same tired jokes, strained puns, and uninventive obscenities. You must bet on cocks of your own group aside clckfight mere loyalty considerations, for if you do not people generally will say, “What!
Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight
It channels aggression and rivalry into an indirect symbolic sphere of engagement. A man backing the favorite, and thus considering giving odds if he can get them short enough, indicates the fact by crying out the color-type of that cock–“brown,” “speckled,” or whatever. In the climactic battle if there is one; sometimes the wounded cock simply expires in the handler’s hands or immediately as it is placed down againthe cock who landed the first blow usually proceeds to finish off his weakened opponent.
See above, Chapter The first is to draw the audience into the society along with the anthropologist.
Cultural Reader: Clifford Geertz: “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” – summary and review
Next, there are those who fight cocks in small, or occasionally medium matches, but have not the status to join in the large ones, though they may bet from time to time on the side in those. Trade has followed the cock for centuries in rural Bali, and the sport has been one of the main agencies of the island’s monetization. With bets fairly even in the case of a deep fights, financial gain is not the center of the event, but rather everything which is expressed in the concept of “status”.
We look forward to seeing you from January 2. But a detailed understanding of the whole process awaits what, alas, it is not very likely ever to get: The closer the identification of cock and man or: If an outsider cock is fighting any cock from your village you will tend to support the local one.
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 stingy man, who promises much, gives little, and begrudges that is compared to a cock which, held by the tail, leaps at another without in fact engaging him. Thus spared, he returned to dispatch the upstarts, regain the throne, reconstitute the Balinese high tradition, and build its most powerful, glorious, and prosperous state.
It is merely to say that if one looks at Bali not just through the medium of its dances, its shadowplays, its sculpture, and its girls, but–as the Balinese themselves do–also through the medium of its cockfight, the fact that the massacre occurred seems, if no less appalling, less like a contradiction to the laws of nature.
The center bet coalition is, in all but the shallowest games, always made up by structural allies–no “outside money” is involved. Thus, for a nine-to-eight bet, one man wagers nine ringgits, the other eight; for five-to-four, one wagers five, the other four.
It is a symbolic manufactured representation of something very real in our social life. In the midst of the third match, with hundreds of people, including, still transparent, myself and my wife, fused into a single body around the ring, a superorganism in the literal sense, a truck full of policemen armed with machine guns roared up.
A Photographic Analysis New York,p. The poet’s job is not to tell you what happened, but what happens: 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 corner boys consider playing for money the real test of skill and, unless a man performs well when money is at stake, he is not considered a good competitor. Unknown November 29, at Scott, History of Cockfighting London, ; and L.
Drawing on almost every level of Balinese experience, it brings together themes–animal savagery, male narcissism, opponent gambling, status rivalry, mass excitement, blood sacrifice–whose main connection is their involvement with rage and the fear of rage, and, binding them into a set of rules which at once contains them and allows them play, builds a symbolic structure in which, over and over again, the reality of their inner affiliation can be intelligibly felt.
Jones Methews March 13, at 4: People raced baljnese the road, disappeared head first over walls, scrambled under platforms, folded themselves behind wicker screens, scuttled up coconut trees. 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.
When you meet cockffight a character as Micawber in Dickens, you don’t feel that there must have been a man Dickens knew who was exactly like this: 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 olay mortal tie as the two birds wildly hack each other to pieces.
Does he have to go to Java or Den Pasar [the capital town] to bet, he is such an important man?
The interpretatio naturae tradition of the middle ages, which, culminating in Spinoza, attempted to read nature as Scripture, the Nietzschean effort to treat value systems as glosses on the will to power or the Marxian one dewp treat them as glosses on property relationsand the Freudian replacement of the enigmatic text of the manifest dream with the plain one of the latent, all offer precedents, if not equally recommendable ones.
The old man asks for food, and the hero spends his notez coins to buy him some.
I have frequently heard men say that the honor of winning was much more important than the money at stake. 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. 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.
Finally, the bets which are made tend to be one- rather than two- three- or in some of the very largest fights, four- or five-finger ones. Frye, The Educated Imagination Bloomington. For medium fights the pressure is somewhat less, and for small ones less yet, though there is always an effort to make things at least approximately equal, for even at fifteen ringgits five days work no one wants to make an even money bet in a clearly unfavorable situation.