Anthropology of Everyday Life – Essay Example

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The paper "Anthropology of Everyday Life" is an outstanding example of an essay on anthropology. Anthropology is the scientific study of humans through a given period of time and space through consideration of environmental, physical character, social relations and culture (Morgan, 2011). From an anthropological perspective, the question is whether a collection of rituals can be used to decipher the place of a cultural phenomenon as an illustration of giving meaning to cultural identities. The two case studies were done by Pearce (1991) and Geertz (1973) takes us into a journey of discovering the place of cultural events in different settings; a village and a contemporary city.

The perception of events in their study can be split as one whose aim is to give a picture and understanding of a people while another is to prove that an event is a form of entertainment, leisure activity, and activity to break the monotony from the rigors and routines of everyday life. The methodologies employed by the researchers encompass observation, cross-cultural evaluation, and interviews. Clifford Geertz in “ Deep, Play: notes on the Balinese Cockfight” (1972) begins his narrative work with the word ‘ we were intruders’ in his study by taking an anthropological approach to studying cockfights as an event amongst the Balinese.

Geertz documents the role of Balinese cockfighting in the society in 1958 taking the first-person narration to give credibility to his study as it is a first-hand personal experience. The narrative is set is in a small Balinese village where he travels with his wife. The reception given is a cold one with stares, invisibility and they are only spectators and the attitude only changes when there is a celebration.

Cockfighting in Geertz's perspective represents the “ the male obsessive affiliation “ with animals and his in-depth analysis is precipitated when he gains the trust of the community when he runs with the locals when a police raid a cockfighting match. Cockfighting according to Geertz is a celebration where the battle is staged and involves cocks as the main participants. Their culture dictates punishment for those who are attracted by animal behavior despite their extreme passion for cockfighting and even crawling is banned amongst babies.

Prior to an event, the cock is prepped, the scene of the fighting is prepared and Geertz paints a picture of a bloody battle. The symbolism of cockfighting is not between the individuals but it is rather a simulation of the social structure of kinship and social groups. There are rules written down in manuscripts passed down from generation to generation to give guidance on how cockfighting should be undertaken. Betting is also part of the fight depending on whether it is “ deep fighting” or “ shallow fighting” . Geertz admits that money is not what motivates the cockfights but it plays an insignificant role showing prestige and status.

The betting is only paced ‘ deep fights’ where the outcome of the fight is unpredictable, the odds are more and the financial gain is not relevant to status. “ Shallow fights” are considered as own wages and little or no emphasis is placed.  


Benhard, H.R. 2006. Research Methods in Anthropology .4th ed. Oxford: Atimra Press

Morgan, R. 2011. AN1001: Culture: From Nature to Cyberspace. Retrieved at;

Geertz , C. 1972. Deep Play: notes on the Balinese Cockfight. Doedalus Fall

Geertz, C. 1993. Interpretation of Cultures. London: Fontama Press.

Peace, A. 1991. The City and the Circus: Engagement, Symbol and Drama in the Adelaide Grand Prix. In R.B. Browne (eds) Digging into Popular Culture: Theories and Methodologies in Archeology, Anthropology and other Fields. Boaling Green: Boaling Green State University Popular Press

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