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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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: When the people see this, they make the hero king and his wife queen and they return as such to earth.

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight

The drep the fight is in fact to even money, the less attractive the long end of the odds will appear and, therefore, the shorter it must be if there are to be takers. Like a lot of people I read the Balinese cockfight article in my anthropological youth and I remember enjoying it although the Person, Time, and Conduct essay in that same volume was the one that really captured my attention. If it is omitted someone will inevitably fall into a trance and command with the voice of an angered spirit that the oversight be immediately corrected.

In fact, the institutionalized hostility relation, puik, is often formally initiated though its causes always lie poay by such a “pardon me” bet in a deep fight, putting the symbolic fat in the fire.

It is a society’s manner of speaking to itself about itself, and is therefore of prime interest for the anthropologist. Koentjaraningrat, Villages in Indonesia Ithaca,pp. In a large-bet fight the pressure to make the match a genuinely fifty-fifty proposition is enormous, and is consciously felt as such.

And we had all been there drinking tea and talking about cultural matters all afternoon and did not know anything about any cockfight. The hero’s cock then flies at the king himself, killing him with a spur stab in the throat.

You cannot ascend the status ladder by winning cockfights; you cannot, as an individual, really baliese it at all. There is a special word for betting against the grain, which is also the word for “pardon me” mpura.

And most curiously, and as we shall see most revealingly, where the first is always, without exception, even cocfight, the second, equally without exception, is never such. But for the Balinese, though naturally they do not formulate it in so many words, the explanation lies in the fact that in such play, money is less a measure of utility, had or expected, than it is a symbol of moral import, perceived or imposed.

In balinnese normal course of things, the Balinese are shy to the point of obsessiveness of open conflict. They are, these addicts, regarded as fair game for the genuine enthusiasts, those who do understand, to take a little money cockfigth from–something that is easy enough to do by luring them, through the force of their greed, into irrational bets on mismatched cocks.

In any case, the attempt to deprovincialize the concept of art is but part cockfigh the general anthropological conspiracy to deprovincialize all important social concepts–marriage, religion. As there is no food in the house, however, the hero tells his wife to kill the last cock for dinner. In classical times that is to say, prior to the Dutch invasion of when there were no bureaucrats around to improve popular morality, the staging of a cockfight was an explicitly societal matter.


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. He may, if he is not especially well-to-do, not even be the major contributor, though, if only to show that he is not involved in any chicanery, he balineae be a significant one.

For the consecration ceremony, see V. This word, which literally means an plaj stain or mark, as in a birthmark or a vein in a stone, is used as well for a deposit in a court case, for a pawn, for security offered in a loan, for a stand-in for someone else in a legal or ceremonial context, for an earnest advanced in a business deal, for a sign placed in a field to indicate its ownership is in dispute, and for the status of an unfaithful wife from whose lover her husband must gain satisfaction or surrender her to him.

It is a symbolic manufactured representation of something very real in our social life. Bandung, ] indicates. But if one splits the figures at sixty ringgits center bets, the ratios turn out bxlinese be 1.

No temple festival should be conducted until one is made. 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:. When the truck drove up he ran to the river, stripped off botes sarong, and plunged in so he could say, when at length they found him sitting there pouring water over his head, that he had been away bathing when the whole affair had occurred and was ignorant of it. Today, a few special occasions vockfight, the newer rectitude makes so open a statement of the connection between the excitements of collective life and those of blood sport impossible, but, less directly expressed, the connection itself remains intimate and intact.

Unlike osme of the more recent commentaries, this essay is directed at a more political understanding of culture. But more interesting than the ethical problem, at least for our concerns here, is that despite the logical force of Bentham’s analysis men do engage in such play, both passionately and often, and even in the face of law’s revenge.

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.

Now, a few special occasions aside, cockfights are illegal in Bali under the Republic as, for not altogether unrelated reasons, they were under the Dutchlargely as a result of the pretensions to puritanism radical nationalism tends to bring with it.

It is, in fact, in shallow games, ones in which smaller amounts of money are involved, that increments and decrements of cash are more nearly synonyms for utility and disutility, in the ordinary, unexpanded sense–for pleasure and pain, happiness and unhappiness. It led to a sudden and unusually complete acceptance into a society extremely difficult for outsiders to penetrate. But they mainly look on the monetary aspects of the cockfight as self-balancing, a matter of just moving money around, circulating it among a fairly well-defined group of serious cockfighters.

The cock changes into a Garuda, the great mythic bird of Indic legend, and carries the hero and his wife to safety in the heavens. Just like in the West, the cock in Bali symbolizes masculinity, and the rules of cockfights in every village are passed down through generations along with other legal traditions.


Actually, the typing of cocks, which is extremely elaborate I have collected more than twenty classes, certainly not a complete listis not based on color alone, but on a series of independent, interacting, dimensions, which include-besides color–size, bone thickness, plumage, and temperament. 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.

In detail, the fit is not, of course, exact, but the general pattern is quite consistent: This does not mean that the financial element is all-important. What it says about that life is not unqualified nor even unchallenged by what other equally eloquent cultural statements say about it. Garage Library is closed from December 30 to January 6. Finally, the Balinese peasants themselves are quite aware of all this and can and, at least to an ethnographer, do state most of it in approximately the same terms as I have.

Our host of five minutes leaped instantly to our defense, producing an impassioned description of who and what we were, so detailed and so accurate that it was my turn, having barely communicated with a living human being save my landlord and the village chief for more than a week, to be astonished.

A shadow of the experience no doubt remains with the principals, perhaps dep with some of the witnesses of a deep fight, as cockifght remains with us when we leave the theater after seeing a powerful play well-performed; but it quite soon fades to become at most a schematic memory–a diffuse glow or an abstract shudder–and usually not even that.

By the same token, you rarely get two cocks from the same group, even more rarely from the same subfaction, and virtually never from the same sub-subfaction which would be in most cases one extended family fighting. Though everyone privately regarded him as a notess and worse some, more charitable, regarded him as sickhe was publicly treated with the elaborate deference and politeness due his rank.

This rule is explicit and rigid; fairly elaborate, even rather artificial precautions are taken to avoid breaking it. Even the Brahmana priest, an old, grave, half-way-to-Heaven type who because of its associations with the underworld would never be baljnese, even distantly, in a cockfight, and was difficult to approach even to other Balinese, had us called into his courtyard to ask us about what had happened, chuckling happily at the sheer extraordinariness of it all.

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight and Clifford Geertz by amiya moretta on Prezi

Frye, The Educated Imagination, pp. A peculiar fusion of Polynesian title ranks and Hindu castes, the hierarchy of pride is the moral backbone of the society.

They take their form from the situation that evokes them, the floor on which they are placed, as Goffman puts it; halinese it is a form, and an articulate one, nonetheless. 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.