“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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Even plxy contexts where women do not in fact play much of a role–music, painting, certain agricultural activities–their absence, which is only relative in any case, is more a mere matter of fact than socially enforced. There is nothing specifically Balinese, of course, about deepening significance with money, as Whyte’s description of corner boys in a working-class district of Boston demonstrates: Usually balijese begin toward late afternoon and run three or four hours until sunset.

Whyte, Street Corner Society, 2d ed.

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight

The lore about spurs is extensive–they are sharpened only at eclipses and the dark of the moon, should be kept out of the sight of women, and so forth. 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. A man who has a passion for cocks, an enthusiast in the literal sense of the term, can spend most of his life with them, and even those, the overwhelming majority, whose passion though intense has not entirely run away with them, can and do spend what seems not only to an outsider, but also to themselves an inordinate amount of time with them.

Odds and Even Money. On the independence of personal reputation and public status in Bali, see above, Chapter The center bet coalition is, in all but the shallowest games, always made up by structural dewp “outside money” is involved.

Geertz reports that the Balinese people deeply detest animals and more specifically expressions of animal-like behavior.

HyperGeertz-Text: Deep_Play

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.

One can even compare forms from different cultures to define their character in reciprocal relief. Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” is one of Clifford Geertz’s most influential articles which illustrates not only the meaning of a given cultural phenomenon, the Balinese cockfight, but also Geertz’s interpretative approach that sees a culture as a set of texts to be read by the anthropologist.


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: With the birds again in the hands of their handlers, the coconut is now sunk three times after which the cock which has landed the blow must be set down to show that he is firm, a fact he demonstrates by wandering idly around the rink for a coconut sink.

Enveloped elsewhere in a haze of etiquette, a thick cloud of euphemism and ceremony, gesture and allusion, they are here expressed in only the thinnest disguise of an animal mask, a mask which in fact demonstrates them far more effectively than it conceals them.

Set not in the matrix of the kinetic emotionality of animals, but in that of the static passionlessness of divine mentality, it expresses tranquillity not disquiet.

The Balinese attempt to create an interesting, if you will, “deep,” match by making the center bet as large as possible so that the cocks matched will be as equal and as fine as possible, and the outcome, thus, as unpredictable as possible. Such a conclusion would be absurd. 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.

Red pepper is stuffed down their beaks and up their anuses to give them spirit. 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.

He also asks for the hero’s son to accompany him as a servant, and, after the son agrees, this is done.

The extremes to which this madness is conceived on occasion to go–and the fact that it is considered madness–is demonstrated by the Balinese folk tale I Tuhung Kuning.

This does not mean that the financial element is all-important. 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.

As the three of us came tumbling into the courtyard, his wife, who had apparently been through this sort nofes thing before, whipped out a table, a noes, three chairs, and three cups of tea, and we all, without any explicit communication whatsoever, sat down, commenced to sip tea, and sought ppay compose ourselves. We were intruders, professional ones, and the villagers dealt with us as Balinese seem always to deal with people not part of their life who yet press themselves upon them: The story is given as “Geel Komkommertje” in J.


The first is typically large; the second typically small. If, what is a rarer circumstance but occurs every now and then, a cock from outside your cockfight circuit is fighting one inside it you will also tend to support the “home bird.

The first is a matter of deliberate, very quiet, almost furtive arrangement by the coalition members and the umpire huddled like conspirators in the center of the ring; the second is a matter of impulsive nootes, public offers, and public acceptances by the excited bslinese around its edges.

This is a delicate job which only a small proportion of men, a half-dozen or so in most villages, know how to do properly. Most British fights were “mains,” in which a preagreed number of cocks were aligned into two teams and fought serially.

When he found his voice again he asked, approximately, what in the devil did we think we were doing there. A small place, about five hundred people, and relatively remote, it was its own world. Hughes, Indonesian Upheaval New York,pp. 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.

A goddess descends from heaven and takes the girl up to the skies with her.

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight – Wikipedia

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. As there is no food in the balimese, however, the hero tells his wife to kill the last cock for dinner.

Within moments one or the cliffordd drives home a solid blow with his spur. As this is a formal paradigm, it is intended to display the logical, not the causal. 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 feep ring and the process begins again.