The Analysis of Geertz Reliance on Thick Description
ANALYSIS OF GEERTZ RELIANCE ON THICK DESCRIPTION
TheAnalysis of Geertz Reliance on Thick Description
TheAnalysis of Geertz Reliance on Thick Description
Inhis essay, Geertz thoroughly offers an archetypal instance ofinterpretive approach. He comprehensively examines commonplacepractices of gambling and gaming to create an account of prominencehierarchies and machismo in Bali (Geertz, 2008). However, he uses theanalogy to explain how the humanity culture develops as an ensembleof texts that people find hard to read. In comprehending, how theessay relies on the thick description, it is imperative to highlightits meaning. The approach evaluates behavior that uses practicesinitially developed for examining literature (Selby, 2017). In thisregard, the paper discusses the anthropological importance of DeepPlay as occurring inThe Balinese Cockfight as well as its parallelism to the thickdescription.
The interpretive approachinvolves the infinitesimal analysis of a precise framework in ahighly participatory manner. By using specific examples of gambling,Geertz manages in offering explanations on the social change ofgaming as well as how numerous casual elements interrelate. Thus, forpeople to interpret a culture, they should first detach itscomponents, identify internal linkages, and illustrate the system ina universal manner according to signs around which it exists. Infact, his reliance on thick description arises when he posits thathis evaluation is not experimental but interpretive (Selby, 2017).
The concept of “deep play”offers him a way of elucidating the representative dimensions ofmoney and status as entrenched into the configurations of theBalinese cock fight. In this society, people risk honor, status,demonstration, and money for a game of cock fight (Geertz, 2008).However, considering the gains that one might attain, the stakes ofthe contest are high. Geertz’s reflections of the betting index theexplanatory turn in anthropology, as they contain too muchtextualism. In fact, his use of details when he recounts theheart-throbbing pursuit, the cockfights, and the appearance of thepolice draws the reader into the community. The event of thecockfight helped Geertz transition from a stranger to a partaker andhis comprehensive account makes the audiences feel as if they areactive contributors in the performance. Moreover, it helps toestablish a subjective authority, which means Geertz appears asknowledgeable in telling the story.
According to the analogy, Balipeople form a most interesting society based on a culture that theyseem to seek to uphold through tooth and nail. Noteson the Balinese Cockfightoffers critical insights into the aspect of Deep Play relative to thedeep description Geertz offers in the Bali people narrative (Geertz,2008). From the narrative, one comes to embrace the Balinese as apeople whose culture has thrived even in the face of domination byothers. To do so, the society has incorporated deception or deep playdeeply into its cultural fabric such that were it not for anopportune moment, quick thinking, and application of anthropologicalknowledge the author would not have had the opportunity to be exposedto the culture. Geertz provides that the people of Bali normallydesist from any form of interaction with foreigners to the point thatvisitors feel invincible (Geertz, 2008). However, the big cockfighttransformed the author’s experiences in a manner that naturallyamazes audiences. By opting to employ ethnographic know how and doingas the Roman’s would do, the author and his wife opt to follow oneof the society’s members in running away from a police swoop. Uponreaching the Bali man’s home, his wife swiftly sets up a table forthree and serves tea which totally confuses the Japanese policeofficer hot on their heels.
The deep play of the cockfightincident is that it is a practice the Balinese hold dearly that noamount of intimidation would commit them to disregard it. Being ahierarchical society, the cockfight arrangements are organized by therespected chief who has bribed Dutch officials to turn the othercheek. The cock fight is essentially held resulting from ashortcoming by the colonizing administration, failure to avail fundto construct a school. The event is, therefore, of far reachingsocial benefits, as it attracts the concerted efforts of the Balipeople. The author has taken upon a microscopic lens to make a viableanalysis of the unique society. These people take the risk to upholdcenturies old practice but are keen to put structures in place tomitigate reprisals by the colonial administration. For instance, thechief who initially arranged the public event rushes off to a nearbyriver to fake bathing thus, support his ignorance of the event. Heis, however, caught by the administration and fined an amount whichthe society members are very happy to contribute towards theconsiderate leader’s release.
Conclusively, by playing alongwith what the Balinese do, Geertz is accorded even very rareopportunities to meet very significant members like the old sage. Thedeep play of things is portrayed in a very entertaining manner. Thewriter who was at first an invisible physical being is in an instanttransformed into the most sought after, and an amusing member of theBalinese (Geertz, 2008). The entire event enabled the anthropologistto understand the intricate deep play of things that appear normalbut are essentially a simple but confidently planned artistry ofdeception. Balinese culture, therefore, has remained closely knitbecause of using astuteness to ensure survival and to eliminateunwanted interferences.
Geertz, C. (2008). Theinterpretation of cultures: Selected essays.Basic Books.
Selby, D. (2017). Lectureon Clifford Geertz Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theoryof Culture. PowerPointPresentation. College of Staten Island.
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