By William Roseberry
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Additional resources for Anthropologies and Histories: Essays in Culture, History, and Political Economy
H e connects a theo retically sophisticated analysis of work, m e r c h a n t capital, a n d the social relations betw een fis h e r m e n a n d merchants w it h a series of telling vignettes, d r a w n from a variety of d o cu m e n ta r y sources, that illu m in a te the psychological consequences of those social relations. O f special interest a n d im po r ta n c e is S id e r ’s e x a m in a t io n of a n u m b e r of “ n e w ” or recent traditions (Christ mas m u m m i n g , scoffing, a n d cuffing) that simultaneously e x press sociality a n d isolation.
The particularities of the Fr e n c h case— the history a n d struc ture of the state, the relative lack of industrial d e ve lo p m e n t, the social position of the peasantry, the role of B o n aparte— are all included in M a r x ’s analysis. ” M o re to the p o in t, among the material conditions under w h ic h they live is in c lu d e d a set of ideas, or sets of ideas, t h e m selves historical products, that serve as material forces. H e r e , culture itself is m a d e m aterial. T h e k in d of m a te r ia lis m pro posed here, th e n , is not one that appropriates a n d subsumes culture a n d consciousness w it h in a n e x p a n d in g material base but one that starts w it h a g iv e n po pulatio n a n d circumstances that confront it a n d the material includes culture a n d con sciousness a m o n g the material circumstances to be e x a m in e d .
T h is essay s im p ly points to a few elements present in G eertz’s essay b u t o m itte d from the in te r pr e tive exercise that should fo rm a part of a cultural a n d sociological interpretation of the cockfight. A l t h o u g h Geertz m ig h t regard reference to these elements as a form of functionalist red u ctio n is m , no at t e m p t is m a d e here to account for or e x p la in the existence of the cockfight. Rath e r , by p o in t in g to other aspects of Balinese society a n d history w it h w h ic h the cockfight m a y be in vo lved , this essay calls into question the m e ta p h o r of culture as text (cf.
Anthropologies and Histories: Essays in Culture, History, and Political Economy by William Roseberry