Sensuous entanglements: a critique of cockfighting conceived as a “cultural text�

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    Abstract

    How can care and cruelty, intimacy and indifference, passion and combat, and attachment and detachment coexist in interspecies relations? How can we develop a deeper understanding of more-than-human relatedness through the study of this nexus? Specifically, how can an understanding of cockfighting as an expression of intimacy lead us to redefine crucial cultural themes such as “masculinity” and “honor” in a rural Pakistani setting? Based on yearlong ethnographic fieldwork in rural South Punjab, this paper argues that in order to understand the multiple modalities of human-rooster relationship, our analysis should delve beneath the visual spectacle and engage with local ways of sensing and understandings of the practice. It contends that a multisensory analysis of cockfighting that focuses on the interplay of different senses–including the sound of roosters, the smell of their bodies, their preference in taste, texture of their plumage and muscles, and the sight of their fight–can help critique and refigure Clifford Geertz’s interpretation of cockfighting as a “cultural text.”.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)151-163
    JournalThe Senses and Society
    Volume16
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

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