Balinese Cockfight Analysis

Decent Essays

Clifford Geertz once stated , “The guiding principle is the same: societies, like lives, contain their own interpretations”. “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” article written by Clifford Geertz presents his analysis and study of the Balinese culture while addressing the significance cockfighting in the formation of the culture. Geertz’s narrative which takes place in 1958 in a Balinese village in Indonesia and it focuses on the symbolism of cockfighting, rituals of betting/gambling to understand the culture of the Balinese people. The analysis of the article will also address how gender roles in the Balinese culture relate to the conceptions of gender discussed in class and unique rituals in the culture along with relevant questions that were raised during the critical reading of the article. In Bali, cocks play a significance role within the culture as the men hold a deep psychological identification with these animals. Sabung, the word for cock is used metaphorically refer to hero, warrior champion, and tough guy (Geertz 1973, 418). The cocks symbolize masculinity, status and pride that men in the village value and their reputation is presented through loses and wins. The significance and the great value that cocks hold demonstrated by the way the men groom, feed and “gaze at them with a mixture of rapt admiration and dreamy self-absorption” (Geertz 1973, 418-419). However, it should be noted that the adoration for cocks cannot be generalized to other

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