Clifford Geertz Deep Play: Notes on a Balinese Cockfight

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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 with cockfighting. The essay is divided into seven sections, each describing a different aspect of the Balinese cockfight. Through each section we can understand the work of an anthropologist's through Geertz's study of the Balinese culture.

In the first section of the essay Geertz introduces his subject, "a small and remote village of about five hundred people," and how the villagers see him as an anthropologist (272). During Geertz's first ten days of research he was watched by the villagers but treated as if he were invisible or non-existent. In order for Geertz to understand the Balinese culture he must adapt to it and become an active part of their society. As an anthropologist he does this by putting himself on the same level as the villagers. During a large public cockfight Geertz finally gets his chance to prove himself to the villagers when police came to break up the event. Rather than staying at the cockfight as an observer, outside the boundaries of their law, he decided to run with the villagers. In doing so he suddenly became visible and respected by the villagers. In order for Geertz as an anthropologist to have a real understanding of the Balinese not only had to be an observer but at the same time a...
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