Balinese is among the native groups found in Indonesia. The community inhabits a small island called Bali. The community is secluded and lives in villages that are based on kinship ties. These extended families live in the villages, and men are practically in charge of the families. A chief is in charge of the villages and is answerable to the higher provincial authorities. The Balinese have a rich culture that incorporates drama, music and cockfighting among others (Belo 23). The community believes in supreme beings, and they invoke them before major rituals such as cockfighting. Clifford Geertz brings out the themes of culture, power and authority, social classes and religion in his work. This essay comments on the main issues discussed and compares and contrasts the theoretical assumptions in the article.
The main theme brought out in the article is the culture of Balinese. It entails concrete and abstract values that a community embraces as a way of life. The Balinese have a culture of being reserved. They barely talk to strangers and, instead, walk away at their sight. Cockfighting is another errant culture amongst the Balinese (Belo 35). The writer expounds on the value and the benefits of this culture to this community. Cockfighting is viewed as a community exercise, which unites them, especially when there is a need: for example, gathering of funds to build social amenities like school. The community is so entrenched in this cultural activity that one still organizes cockfighting despite its ban by the government. Strong kinship ties are part of their culture, too. The ties are so strong that kinsmen support each other during cockfighting.
The theme of power is also evident in a number of incidences. The police that represent the authorities exercise own power when the officers disrupt the cockfighting ceremony. They arrest the participants and jail them for a couple of days or a week. The village chief has as well been given power by the authority to implement the government policies. When the policemen ambush the community during the ceremony, they expect the chief to account for this. He is fined for his irresponsibility. Men are the leaders of the family. They execute their power by participating in cockfighting and betting as the family representatives (Belo 40).
The writer has expounded one more theme the theme of social classes. The community has been outlined to have social classes on the basis of material wealth and prestige. During cockfighting, the rich participate in the principal betting, where huge amounts of money circulate while the poor participate in side betting. The social status of men has also been categorized on their participation and contribution during cockfighting. There is the class of mere spectators, who are spectators in the ceremony and participate in side betting, a class of men who participates in actual cockfighting in the underground leagues and the others who participate in high ranking leagues (Lansing 70).
The theme of religion is evident in the article likewise. Religion is a belief in existence of supreme beings and external forces that affects human welfare. The Balinese community believes in existence of dark forces that affect their activities such as cock fighting. They invoke the supreme beings before major rituals such as cockfighting. A loss in the cockfight was termed as a curse by the dark forces.
There are two kinds of betting made during cockfights: the center and the side bet. Assumptions were made from the kinds of bets that were done. The proposition was the higher the center bet is, the more exactly a fifty-fifty proposition the cockfight is. The higher the center bet is the greater is a volume of side betting. The two assumptions are similar in that probability of winning could not be determined specifically. The difference between the two assumptions was that the first one was winning oriented while the other targeted at the material gain (Lansing 430).
This essay has commented on the main issues discussed and compared and contrasted the theoretical assumptions in the article. The major issues detailed in the article include power that has been brought by the police, chief and men. Culture is evident all through the whole work as the main theme. Social classes also exist in this community. Religion has as well been featured in the community. The assumptions, which have been brought out by different betting, have been compared and contrasted, too.