Clifford Geertz Deep Play: Notes on a Balinese Cockfight Essay

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The job of an anthropologist is complex. It requires a very diverse arsenal of talents and abilities that few can use successfully. An anthropologist must be able to observe the in-depth content of human nature within a society, analyze it from all aspects, and perform cross-cultural comparisons. The essay "Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight" is written by a well respected anthropologist by the name of Clifford Geertz, who details his observations of the Balinese culture. Geertz was a professor at Princeton and received his Ph.D. from Harvard, as well as publishing several successful books in the field of anthropology. Geertz's essay presents a study and analysis on the Balinese culture through the male's obsessive affiliation …show more content…

In studying Bali it is easy for an anthropologist to overlook cockfighting and "aside from a few passing remarks, the cockfight has barely been noticed" (276). However through Geertz's observation he believes that the cockfighting has much more depth to it and it is not the cocks that are fighting, "actually, it is men" (276). In Bali animals are not portrayed as beautiful creatures but detested as representing demons. Much of Balinese life is adjusted to prevent any association with animals so they will "file the child's teeth" at a young age and eat "hurriedly and privately" because they believe it is beast-like (278). The Balinese are "aversive to animals," so why are they so involved with cockfights? Geertz believes the male Balinese identify with cocks as what they "most fear, hate, and are fascinated by – The Powers of Darkness" (278). Rather than treating the cocks cruelly like any other animal, they treat them with a tremendous amount of care and respect, even beyond that of fellow humans. Geertz as an anthropologist is capable of recognizing this relationship between the Balinese men and their fascination with cocks and how it has an affect on their culture. In the third section of the essay entitled "The Fight," Geertz explains how a typical cockfight is to be held. It begins with two men finding a fair opponent to match up against in a ring

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