The Raid



“ The Raid ”

The way I approached dissecting Clifford Geertz’s “The Raid” was by reading it carefully over a few times while taking notes on the side. The first time I read the piece, I was very confused because of Geertz’s choice of word. He often used the singular word “he” to make reference to the people of Bali as a whole. I was not wary of this the first time I read and was totally lost. Another element of the reading that I thought made the reading more difficult was Geertz’s usage of references that was unknown to me. A few times in the reading he borrowed terms and ideas from his contemporaries such as Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead. I have never read the work of these people and therefore unable to understand the deeper meaning.
However after reading “The Raid “ a few times I felt that the reading was not difficult at all, in fact, it was very interesting. According to Geertz Balinese are very simple people. “… they[the Balinese] rarely face what they can turn away from, rarely resist what they can evade.” Their lives are simple, yet exclusive. This was the dilemma Geertz and his wife faced when they first arrived. Unlike the other villagers Geertz and his wife visited in Java who gawked at them with insatiable curiosity, Geertz and his wife was instead completely ignore by the Balinese. Geeretz described himself and his wife in their first few days as “nonpersons,” “specters,” “invisible men.” Nonetheless this all changed when Geertz visited one of the local favorite pastime, cockfighting. Cockfighting is a brutal, barbaric blood sport in which men in the village arm their cocks with razor sharp spurs and sends them at each other’s cock while other villagers bet on which cock will be victorious.
Amidst all the blood, gore, and excitement of the fight the police sounded the siren and raided the fight. Being at the center of this much-condemned sport by the government, Geertz and his wife fled instinctively. This unfortunate event led them to be accepted into the lives of the Balinese. Geertz could’ve easily stayed and presented the police the paper work that shows he was a professor studying the culture there and could’ve been exempt from any charges. However in fleeing he proved to the villagers that he was no better than they are and that in fact he was one of them. “ …above all, everyone was extremely pleased and even surprise that we had not simply ‘ pulled out our papers’” “ The next morning the village was completely different world for us.” Such unfortunate event had allow Geertz to be accepted and transformed the villagers view of him. Now that he had build a better rapport with the villagers I predict that his further study of them will be a lot more effective and easier. His newfound status will facilitate his further research. They will “let him in” on secrets that even years of studying will not yield. His future relationship with them will be a prosperous one.




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