Essay On The Balinese Cockfight

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Anthropological Theory End Term

‘Please 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’.

Submitted by:
Dipankar Dutta
Department Of Sociology
(1st Semester)
South Asian University

In the piece the "Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture" Clifford Geertz has stressed upon culture to be its central focus point. Geertz held that people, generally, are tangled by a set of meanings that are self-derived and socially derived. He has tried to narrow down the meaning of culture which has otherwise been used as a vast term in other anthropological
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It has succeeded in achieving its theoretical position as mentioned in the “Thick Description”. According to what Geertz had expressed, his view in the “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight”, written in 1972, he talks about how the culture of people is in itself a group of rituals which are in themselves overall together and these are the texts which the ethnographer tries to decode. Following the perception of culture, Geertz tries to put his view that the task of an ethnographer is somewhat similar to a person belonging to a certain culture and to have a good, deep and well rooted understanding of various symbols and meanings, the person has to be a part of that particular culture.
Hence, "Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight" is one of the most influential article as it not only provides the meaning of a given cultural experience which is the Balinese cockfight, but it also deals with Geertz’s interpretive approach which depicts culture to be a set of texts which should be read by the anthropologist. Geertz lets his readers know how the Balinese cockfight has been able to show itself as a cultural which helps in understanding, maybe not the whole but a part of what being a Balinese actually
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