Balinese Cockfight Analysis

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BY: PRIYANKA SAINI QUESTION: Compare Geertz’s two essays to answer the following question: does Geertz’s ethnographic writing on the Balinese cockfight convincingly succeed in achieving his theoretical position, as outlined in ‘Thick Description’? INTRODUCTION: Geertz is famous for his influence in the field of symbolic anthropology, which focuses on the role of symbols in society that guide action. Culture, according to Geertz, is “a system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which men communicate, perpetuate, and develop their knowledge about and attitudes toward life.” According to him, the function of culture is to impose meaning on the world and make it understandable. Geertz has two most popular ideas that he propagates in the…show more content…
Geertz departs from objectivity and speaks from the first person perspective and thus making his writing personal. Clifford Geertz propagates the idea in this essay that people 's culture is an ensemble of rituals which are in themselves ensembles, and these texts are what the anthropologist is trying to decipher. Geertz in his essay shows how the Balinese cockfight serves as a cultural text which embodies, at least a portion of, what the real meaning of being Balinese is. Geertz reports that the Balinese people deeply detest animals and more specifically expressions of animal-like behaviour. However, they have a deep identification with their cocks (penises) and "in identifying with his cock, the Balinese man is identifying not only with his ideal self, or even his penis, but also, and at the same time, with what he most fears, hates, and ambivalence being what it is, is fascinated by- the powers of
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