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“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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Notes cickfight the Balinese Cockfight” was written As the primary bet rises–the reasoning goes–the more likely it is that the match is in fact an even one, so the side bets go towards the short end of the spectrum. 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.

Except this is not a short story. For reasons I shall come to, it is done somewhat differently from case to case, ccokfight is an obsessively deliberate affair. He indicates his wish to do this by shouting sapih “tie” rather than the cock-type, but such bets are in fact infrequent.

Everybody involved has a strict set of rules that they abide by and roles that must be fulfilled. Seeing my wife and I, “White Men,” there in the yard, the policeman performed a classic double take. 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.

Language of Art, pp.

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 comparison with the symbolic aspects of it.

Balinese moral language is full of rooster images. His followers are, of course, obliged to support him, and when the more grand-scale legal cockfights are held on holidays and so on the people of the village take what they regard to be the best cocks in the village, regardless of ownership, geetrz go off to support them, although they will almost certainly have to give odds on them and to make large bets to show that they are not cockfught cheapskate village.


The primary bets are always even money, while the odds for side bets gwertz change based on the amount of the primary bet.

They are both in over their heads. Violence, Remedies, and Reverie in Colonial Congo. Only exceptionally well-trusted, solid, and, given the complexity of the code, knowledgeable citizens perform this job, and in fact men will bring their cocks only to fights presided over by such men.

Saturday, May 7, Clifford Geertz: 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: So far as money is concerned, the explicitly expressed attitude toward it is that it is a secondary matter.

The ceremony consecrating a Brahmana priest, a matter of breath control, postural immobility, and vacant concentration upon the depths of being, displays a radically different, but to the Balinese equally real, property of social hierarchy–its reach toward the numinous transcendent. They take their form from the situation that evokes them, the floor on which they are placed, as Goffman puts it; but it is a form, and an articulate one, nonetheless.

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. If we see ourselves as a pack of Micawbers, it is from reading too much Dickens if we see ourselves as unillusioned realists, it is from reading too little ; and similarly for Balinese, cocks, and cockfights. We ran down the main village street, northward, away from where we were living, for we were on that side of the ring.

While cockfighting is not the only message or story that the Balinese tell themselves about themselves, it is an important one. The first is collective, involving coalitions of bettors clustering around the owner; the second is individual, man to man.

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight – Wikipedia

Cocofight moments one or the other drives home a solid blow with his spur. First, there is a simple withdrawal of interest as people wander off to have a cup of coffee or chat with a friend.

And in Wales, the so-called Welsh main followed an elimination pattern, along the lines of a present-day tennis tournament, winners proceeding to the next round. On December 31 and January 1 the Museum is closed.


Based on a large pool of observations and interviews, Geertz concludes that the cockfight as a cultural phenomenon offers rich anthropological material for the interpretation of the Balinese society. Indeed, I never saw an open altercation, other than those between cocks, at all. Cockfights were generally illegal in Indonesia when Geertz was doing his fieldwork there in the s.

Précis for “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” (Geertz 1973)

But the poet [as opposed to the historian]. Not only are there a great many other cultural texts providing commentaries on status hierarchy and self-regard in Bali, cockfihht there are a great coc,fight other dockfight sectors of Balinese life besides the stratificatory and the agonistic that receive such commentary.

Cocks armed with steel spurs sharp enough to cut off a finger or run a hole through a foot were running wildly around. Mickey James February cocfight, at A goddess descends from heaven and takes the girl up to the skies with her. People never bet against a cock from their own reference group. Usually they begin toward late afternoon and run three or four hours until sunset.

Outside betters almost never bet against the cock of someone they are allied with or associated with, and are obligated to vote for the birds of their friends and family. Return to the table of contents for 3. The double entendre here is deliberate.

But my data on the subject, though extensive and varied, do not seem to be complete and systematic enough to attempt such an analysis here.

“Notes on a Balinese Cockfight” and Donald Trump | Somatosphere

Thus the great majority of the people calling “five” or “spes the great majority of the people calling”five” or “speckled” so demonstratively are expressing their allegiance to their kinsman, not their evaluation of his bird, their understanding of probability theory, or even their hopes of unearned income.

They do not always succeed. Quartets, still lifes, and cockfights are not merely reflections of a pre-existing sensibility analogically represented; they are positive agents in the creation and maintenance of such a cockflght.