Varenne: selections from "Deep Play" by Clifford Geertz Works by title

Geertz, Clifford

"Deep play: Notes on the Balinese cockfight."
In his The interpretation of cultures. New York: Basic Books. 1973 [1972

[full text]

On Deep Play

Bentham's concept of "deep play" is found in his The Theory of Legislation (1931). By it he means play in which the stakes are so high that it is, from his utilitarian standpoint irrational for men to engage in it at all. If a man whose fortune is a thousand pounds wages five hundred of it on an even bet, the marginal utility of the pound he stands to win is clearly less than the marginal disutility of the one he stands to lose... Having come together in search of pleasure [both participants] have entered into a relationship which will bring the participants, considered collectively, net pain rather than net pleasures. (p. 432)


June 14, 1999