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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The first cockfight that he and his wife viewed was broken up by the police. Social tensions are represented noyes the cockfight, but after all, it’s just a cockfight.

The “deep play” of the Balinese cockfight, says Geertz, is like artworks which illustrate an essential insight into our very existence. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

That ballinese 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 [what a marvellous example of passive voice and absence of the author] that in two weeks of Decemberduring feertz 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.

Savage Minds

It was, moreover, still possible for people who talked too openly about certain topics to get a knock on gesrtz door in eeep middle of the night. The fights both represent and take part in forming the social and cultural structure of the Balinese people which are dramatized through the cockfight. It channels aggression and rivalry into an indirect symbolic sphere of engagement.

Participants of the “deep fights” are usually dominant members of society. However the fight, according to Geertz, is not between individuals but is rather a simulation of the social structure of kinship and social groups. Notes on the Balinese Cockfight Might interest you: Email required Address never made public.

Balinese Cockfights and the Seduction of Anthropology. Self-mockery seems to be an essential ingredient for making an anthropological classic. Rituals such as the Balinese cockfight, Geertz concludes, are a form of text which can be read.


We ran down the main village street, northward, away from where we were living, for we were on that side of the ring.

It is a society’s manner of speaking to itself about itself, and is therefore of prime interest for the anthropologist. Roney Wilson December 30, at 3: This story serves two purposes: We look forward to seeing you from January 2. Although gambling is a major and central part of the Balinese cockfight, Geertz argues that what is at stake is much more fundamental than just money, namely, prestige and status.

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Clifford Geertz – “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” | Alexandru Thinks Theater

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 the three of us came tumbling into the courtyard, his wife, who had apparently been through this sort of thing before, whipped out a table, a tablecloth, three chairs, and three cockfjght of om, and we all, without any explicit communication whatsoever, sat down, commenced to sip tea, and sought to compose ourselves.

Fighting always takes place between people and cocks from opposing social groups family, clan, village etc.

The essay describes how cocks are taken to stand in for powerful men in the villages, and notes that even the double-entendre sense of the word “cock” exists in the Balinese language as much as in English. It is a symbolic manufactured representation of something very real in our social life. The only place power comes into play in this formulation is in who has access to particular symbols. Whenever a match brings closer together people of the same social status, it deepens this migration, and consequently leads to the constant restructuring of social ranks inside each step of the hierarchical social ladder.

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Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight by Clifford Geertz

Clifford Geertz — was an American anthropologist and sociologist, who wrote extensively on traditional cultures and religions in Southeast Asia and North America. About half-way down another fugitive ducked suddenly dep a compound-his own, it turned out-and we, seeing nothing ahead of us but rice fields, open country, and a very high volcano, followed him.

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 French anthropology being another story.


Articles needing additional references bainese June All articles needing additional references. With this in mind, I believe that one should take the time to look at the rich culture of the East, and only then feel entitled to engage in a discussion about the merits of the cultural heritage of the civilized versus the one of the primitive, of the savage.

Geertz notices, articulates, and illustrates a conceptual problem then ends with no how-to geerhz for solving the problem he raises. You are commenting using your WordPress.

Geertz is therefore as much as an objective observer as one could be, a fact that allows him to notice the subtleties involved in this Balinese pastime and pn impact on both the performers and the audience.

Cockfights were generally illegal in Indonesia when Geertz was doing his fieldwork there in the s. The experience of hiding from the police in the courtyard of a local couple allowed Geertz to break the tension between himself and the villagers, and perform all of the interviews and observation which make up The Interpretation of Cultures.

For example, women and young and socially disadvantaged people are not allowed to attend cockfights, while the main players are the most respected and politically involved members of the community. Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” was written 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: 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.

Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. This article needs additional citations for verification. For Geertz, culture is mainly psychological and personal. In Taiwan, when Ruth and I were doing fieldwork inthe first thing we did when arriving in Puli was report to the foreign affairs policeman who seemed, in fact, a very pleasant person…but anyway.

Much as I respect oneman, this is just plain wrong.

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