“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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In sticky, cross-loyalty situations, of which in this extraordinarily complex social system there are of course many, where a man is caught between two more or less equally balanced loyalties, he tends to wander off for a cup of coffee or something to avoid having to bet, a form of behavior reminiscent of that of American voters in similar situations.
Getting caught, or almost caught, in a vice raid is perhaps not a very generalizable recipe for achieving that mysterious necessity of anthropological field work, rapport, but for me it worked very well.
But, here, that present is severed into a string of flashes, some more bright than others, but all of them disconnected, aesthetic quanta.
Whether the owner handles his own cock or not more or less depends on how skilled he is at it, a consideration whose importance is again relative to the importance of the fight.
The poet’s job is not to tell you what happened, but what happens: All this is again recorded in palm-leaf manuscripts and endlessly discussed by the Balinese who do not all have identical systemsand a full-scale componentialcum-symbolic analysis of cock classifications would be extremely valuable both as an adjunct to the description of the cockfight and in itself.
The asil, or jungle cock, which is the basic fighting strain everywhere the sport is found, is native to southern Asia, and one can buy a good example in the chicken section of almost any Balinese market for anywhere from four or five ringgits up to fifty or more. That what 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 the 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.
We moved into an extended family compound that had been arranged before through the provincial government belonging to one of the four major factions in village life. It sees cockfighting as “primitive,” “backward,” “unprogressive,” and generally unbecoming an ambitious nation.
In this realm of eccentric predicates, to say that the cockfight, in its perfected cases at least, is “disquietful” does not seem at all unnatural, merely, as I have just denied it practical consequence, somewhat puzzling.
A desperate man who makes a last, irrational effort to extricate himself from an impossible situation is likened to a dying cock who makes one final lunge at his tormentor to drag him along to a common destruction. Such an extension of the notion of a text beyond written material, and even beyond verbal, is, though metaphorical, not, of course, all that novel.
If he is certain in his mind that it will not win, he may just not bet at all, particularly if it is only a cliffodr cousin’s bird or if the fight is a shallow one. When he found his voice again he asked, approximately, what in the devil did we think we were doing there. When there is nothing at stake, the game is not considered a real contest.
One thing that I always wonder about the cockfight essay is what Balinese people always think about it. Hughes, Indonesian Upheaval New York,pp. Cockfights tetadjen; sabungan are held in a ring about fifty feet square.
Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight by Brooke Drover on Prezi
A cockfight is what, searching for a name for something not vertebrate enough to be called a group and not structureless enough balinfse be called a crowd, Erving Goffman has called a “focused gathering”–a set of persons engrossed in a common flow of activity and relating to one another in terms of that flow.
Jaya Prana, the subject of a Balinese Uriah myth, responds to the lord who has offered him the loveliest of six hundred servant girls: Sabungthe word for cock and one which appears in inscriptions as early as A. The title of the essay is explained as plah concept of British philosopher Jeremy Bentham —who defines “deep play” as a game with stakes so high that geeetz rational person would engage in it.
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. Also, owner-handler-affixer triads tend to be fairly fixed, though individuals may participate in several and valinese exchange roles within a given one.
What we had actually demonstrated was our cowardice, but there is fellowship in that too.
To anyone who has been in Bali any length of time, the deep psychological identification of Balinese men with their cocks is unmistakable. The man who wants the underdog cock shouts the short-side number indicating the odds he wants to be given. On the individual level, people involved in an institutionalized hostility relationship, called puik, in which they do not flifford or otherwise have anything to do with each other the causes of this formal breaking of relations are many: 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 mutually mortal tie as the two birds wildly hack each other to pieces.
Yet what it says is not merely that risk is exciting, loss depressing, or triumph gratifying, banal tautologies of affect, but that it is of these emotions, thus exampled, that society is built balineese individuals are put together. A peculiar fusion of Polynesian title ranks and Hindu castes, the hierarchy of pride is the moral backbone of the society.
We had a perfect right to be there, he said, looking the Javanese upstart in the eye.
Moreover, we had not seen the village chief all day, he must have gone to town. The greater the emotion that will be involved and the more the general absorption in the match.
As he watches fight after fight, with the active watching of an owner and a bettor for cockfighting has no more interest as a pure spectator sport than does croquet or dog racinghe grows familiar with it and what it has to say to him, much as the attentive listener to string quartets or the absorbed viewer of still life grows slowly more familiar with them in a way which opens his subjectivity to himself.
Similarly, the end of such a relationship and resumption of normal social balinee is nores signalized but, again, not actually brought about by one veep the other of the enemies supporting the other’s bird. The cockfight is cliffprd Balinese reflection on theirs: Paling is social vertigo, the dizzy, disoriented, lost, turned-around clifforrd one gets when one’s place in the coordinates deeo social space is not clear, and it is a tremendously disfavored, immensely anxietyproducing state.
Assuming only binomial variability, the departure from a fifty-fifty expectation in the sixty-ringgits-and-below case is 1. The man who attaches the spurs also provides them, and if the rooster he assists wins its owner awards him the spur-leg of the victim.
Gambling debts, which can get quite large on a rather short-term basis, are always to friends, never to enemies, structurally speaking. The language of everyday moralism is shot through, on the male side of it, with roosterish imagery.
And, after a botes interval, bewildered but relieved to have survived and stayed out of jail, so did we. Think Cold War, Vietnam War, anti-colonial struggles, rampant and sometimes justified suspicion that anthropologists were CIA agents up to God knows what. 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 clifforc one wants to make an even money bet in a clearly unfavorable situation.
However, Geertz reminds us, neither winning nor losing in a cockfight can actually change the social status of the participant, remaining but a metaphor of real success of failure. Though the markets themselves have never been very highly developed, small morning affairs in a village square, it is the microregion such rotation rather notez marks out–ten or twenty square miles, seven or eight neighboring villages which in contemporary Bali is usually going to mean anywhere from five to ten or eleven thousand people from which the core of any cockfight audience, indeed virtually all of it, will come.
It is not an imitation of the punctuateness of Balinese social life, nor a depiction of it, nor even an expression of it; it is an example of it, carefully prepared. It channels aggression and rivalry into an indirect symbolic sphere of engagement.
What it says about that life is not unqualified nor even unchallenged by what other equally eloquent cultural statements say about it.