“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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As there is no food in the house, however, the hero tells his wife to kill the last cock for dinner. The fact that these departures though real are not extreme merely indicates, again, that even in the smaller fights the tendency to match cocks at least reasonably evenly persists. Men of this sort, plungers, are highly dispraised by “true cockfighters” as fools who do not understand what the sport is all about, vulgarians who simply miss the point of it all.

The title of the essay is explained as a concept of British philosopher Jeremy Bentham —who defines “deep play” as a game with stakes so high that no rational person would engage in it. To this general pattern, the cockfight, entirely of, by, and for men women–at least Balinese women–do not even watchis the most striking exception. The higher the center bet, the more likely the match will in actual fact be an even one.

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

The only place power comes into play in this formulation is in who has access to particular symbols. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

In the houseyard, the high-walled enclosures where the people live, fighting cocks are kept in wicker cages, moved frequently about so as to maintain the optimum balance of sun and shade. Noted only binomial variability, the departure from a fifty-fifty expectation in the sixty-ringgits-and-below case is 1. The old man turns out to cliffprd Siva and, thus, to live in a great palace in the sky, though the hero does not know this. Koentjaraningrat, Villages in Indonesia Ithaca,pp.

Deep Play is a study of the Balinese tradition dfep cockfighting, based on a year of anthropological research conducted by Geertz at the end of the s, when he and his wife lived in Bali, attending the illegal but very popular cockfights and interviewing people involved in them. Hogg Baltimore,pp.

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 are bathed in the same ceremonial preparation of tepid water, medicinal herbs, flowers, and onions in which infants are bathed, and for a prize cock just about as often.

If, as sometimes happens, the animals have not fought during this time, they are picked up, fluffed, pulled, prodded, and otherwise insulted, and put back in the center of the ring and the process begins again.


This process, which rarely takes less than ten minutes, and often a good deal longer, is conducted in a very subdued, oblique, even dissembling manner Those not immediately involved give it at best but disguised, sidelong attention; those who, embarrassedly, are, attempt to pretend somehow that the whole thing is not really happening.

HyperGeertz-Text: Deep_Play

British cockfights the sport was banned there in indeed seem to have lacked it, and to have generated, therefore, a quite different family of shapes.

What the cockfight says it says in a vocabulary of sentiment–the thrill of risk, the despair of loss, the pleasure of triumph. A few moments later, one of the policemen marched importantly into the yard, looking for the village chief. The image of artistic technique is indeed exact: What is a fair coin in the center is a biased one on gdertz side.

But if one splits the figures at sixty ringgits center bets, the ratios turn out to be 1. Cockfights tetadjen; sabungan are held in a ring about fifty feet square.

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

Savage Minds

Of course, even in Bentham, utility is not normally confined as a concept to monetary losses and gains, and my argument here might be more carefully put in terms of a denial that for the Balinese, as for any people, utility pleasure, notds.

Thus spared, he returned to dispatch the upstarts, regain the throne, reconstitute the Balinese high tradition, and cockfitht its most powerful, glorious, and prosperous state. The greater the emotion that will be involved and the more the general absorption in the match.

I suppose Geertz would admit that the interpretive process is heavily determined by all sort of outside factors, but he rarely makes this a factor in his writing. For purposes of ethnographic completeness, it should be noted that it is possible for the man backing the favorite–the odds-giver–to make a bet in which he wins if his cock wins or there is a tie, a slight shortening noes the odds I do not have enough cases to be exact, but ties seem to occur about once every fifteen or twenty matches.

There were also “battle Royales,” both in England and on the Continent, in which a clifforf number of cocks were let loose at once with the one left standing at the end the victor. At a fight, the umpire saja konong; djuru kembar –the man who manages the coconut–is in charge of their application and his authority is absolute.


Cofkfight Balinese do not breed cocks to any significant extent, nor, so far as I have been able to discover, have they ever done so. The first cockfight that he and his wife viewed was broken up by the police.

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight by Clifford Geertz

Not only are there a great many other cultural texts providing commentaries on status hierarchy and self-regard in Bali, but there are a great many other critical sectors of Balinese life besides the stratificatory and the agonistic that receive such commentary.

  LEY 189-11 PDF

Saturday, May 7, Clifford Geertz: The transfer of a sense of gravity into what is in itself a rather blank and unvarious spectacle, a commotion of beating wings and throbbing legs, is effected by interpreting it as expressive of something unsettling in the way its authors and audience live, or, even veertz ominously, what they are.

About half-way down another fugitive ducked suddenly into 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.

There is indeed a legend to the effect that the separation cockfigut Java and Bali is due to the action of a powerful Javanese religious figure who wished to protect himself against a Balinese culture hero the ancestor of two Ksatria castes who was a passionate cockfighting gambler.

Self-mockery seems to be an essential ingredient for making an anthropological classic. Cockfighting is a fight for statues, with bets serving only to symbolize the risk.

So, too, for the village as a whole. Aside from cocks and a few domestic animals–oxen, ducks–of no emotional significance, the Balinese are aversive to animals and treat their large number of dogs not merely callously but with a phobic cruelty.

As a result, the fights are usually held in a secluded corner of a village in semisecrecy, a fact which tends to slow the action a little-not very much, but the Balinese do not care to have it slowed at all. The last half of the essay describes the rituals of betting and concludes that the cockfight is the Balinese comment on themselves, as it embodies the network of social relationships in kin and village that govern traditional Balinese life.

The really important wins and losses are seen mostly in other terms, and the general attitude toward wagering is not any hope of cleaning up, of making a killing addict gamblers again exceptedbut that of the horseplayer’s prayer: Aristotle says, never makes any real statements at all.

Weber, The Sociology of Religion Boston, By the time he is forced to put it back down he is usually drenched in chicken blood, but, as in prize fighting, a good handler is worth his weight in eeep.

He may, if he is not especially well-to-do, heertz even be the major contributor, though, if only to show that he is not involved in any chicanery, he must be a significant one. Bwlinese List Subscribe to our mailing list cockgight get the latest news from Garage. Cockfihgt far as money is concerned, the explicitly expressed attitude toward it is that it is a secondary matter.

The connection of cocks and cockfighting with such Powers, with geerz animalistic demons that threaten constantly to invade the small, cleared off space in which the Balinese codkfight so carefully built their lives and devour its inhabitants, is quite cockfivht.