“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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One can even compare forms from different cultures to define their character in reciprocal relief. However the fight, according to Geertz, is not between individuals but is rather a simulation of the social structure of kinship and social groups. But except for our landlord and the village chief, whose cousin and brother-in-law he was, everyone ignored us in a way only a Balinese can do. When he arrives at the cockfight, he is asked for an entry fee and replies, “I have no money; I will pay after my cock has won.

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 second cousin’s bird or if the fight is a shallow one. To call the wind a cripple, as Stevens does, to fix tone and manipulate timbre, as Schoenberg does, or, closer to our case, to picture an art critic as a dissolute bear, as Hogarth does, is to cross conceptual wires; the established conjunctions between objects and their qualities are altered, and phenomena–fall weather, melodic shape, or cultural journalism–are clothed in signifiers which normally point to other referents.

It is merely to say that if one looks at Bali not just through the medium of its dances, its shadowplays, its sculpture, and its girls, but–as the Balinese themselves do–also through the medium of its cockfight, the fact that the massacre occurred seems, if no less appalling, less like a contradiction to the laws of nature.

Savage Minds

Unlike osme of the more recent commentaries, this essay is directed at a more political understanding of culture. Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” — summary and review.


For the necessity of distinguishing among “description,” “representation,” exemplification,” and “expression” and the irrelevance of “imitation” to all of them as modes of symbolic reference, see Goodman, Languages of Art, pp.

A few moments later, one of the policemen marched importantly into the yard, looking for the village chief. Comparisons with, for example, Cambodia leap to mind, together with the memory that amok was imported codkfight English from Malay. To anyone who has been in Bali any length of time, the deep psychological identification of Balinese notea with their cocks is unmistakable.

HyperGeertz-Text: Deep_Play

When he talks about culture as text, the text is fully material, like words printed in a book. This page was last edited on 26 Januaryat He blows in its mouth, putting the whole chicken head in his own mouth and sucking and blowing, fluffs it, stuffs its wounds with various sorts of medicines, and generally tries anything he can think of to arouse the last ounce of spirit which may be hidden somewhere within it.

The superorganism came instantly apart as its components scattered in all directions. Our impressions dfep human life are picked up one by one, and remain for most of us loose and disorganized. But they mainly look on cockcight monetary aspects of the cockfight as self-balancing, a matter of just moving money around, circulating it among a clifdord well-defined group of serious cockfighters.

It ccokfight to a sudden and unusually complete acceptance into a society extremely difficult for outsiders to penetrate. In fact, the institutionalized hostility relation, puik, is often formally initiated though its causes always lie elsewhere by such a “pardon me” bet in a deep fight, putting the symbolic fat bapinese the fire.

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.

Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight by Clifford Geertz

That this is the case is apparent from mere inspection, from the Balinese’s own analysis of the matter, and from what more systematic observations I was able to collect. The next morning the village was a completely different world for us. Novels are said to have strength, buildings eloquence, plays momentum, ballets repose.


What it does is what, for other peoples with other temperaments and other conventions, Lear and Crime and Punishment do; it catches up these themes–death, masculinity, rage, pride, loss, beneficence, chance–and, ordering them into an encompassing structure, presents them in such a way as to throw into relief a particular view of their essential nature.

You wouldn’t go to Macbeth to learn about the history of Scotland–you go to it to learn what a man feels like after he’s gained a kingdom and lost his soul. Jealousy is as much a part of Bali as poise, envy as grace, brutality as charm; but without the cockfight the Balinese would have a much less certain understanding of them, which is, presumably, why they value it so highly.

This principle is extended logically. A desperate man who makes a cokfight, 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.

This connection of cockfighting with markets and market sellers is very old, as, among other things, their conjunction in inscriptions [ R. Frye, The Educated Imagination, pp. Only women, children, adolescents, and various other sorts of people who do not or not yet geedtz cocks–the extremely poor, the socially despised, the personally idiosyncratic–play at these games, at, of course, penny ante levels.

But they acted as if we simply did not exist, which, in fact, as this behavior was designed to inform us, we did not, or anyway not yet. On cockfighting poay generally, see A. We were American professors; the government had cleared us; geedtz were there to study culture; we were going to write a book to tell Americans about Bali.

What is a fair coin in the center is a biased one on the side. In Bali, to be teased is to be accepted.