The University of Wisconsin Press

Folklore / Anthropology


The Cockfight
A Casebook
Edited by Alan Dundes

Often banned as inhumane, cockfighting is nonetheless one of the oldest and most popular sports in the world. Alan Dundes' casebook brings together fascinating descriptions and analyses of this male-dominated ritual.

Originating more than 2500 years ago, cockfighting is one of the oldest documented sports in the world. It has continued to flourish despite bans against it in many countries. In The Cockfight: A Casebook, folklorist Alan Dundes brings together a diverse array of writing on this male-dominated ritual.

Vivid descriptions of cockfights from Puerto Rico, Tahiti, Ireland, Spain, Brazil, and the Philippines complement critical commentaries, from the fourth-century reflections of St. Augustine to contemporary anthropological and psychoanalytic interpretations. The various essays discuss the intricate rules of the cockfight, the ethical question of pitting two equally matched roosters in a fight to the death, the emotional involvement of cockfighters and fans, and the sexual implications of the sport. The result is an enlightening collection for anthropologists, folklorists, sociologists, and psychologists, as well as followers of this ancient blood sport.

"An exciting gathering of diverse essays on a fascinating but somewhat neglected topic. Dundes' essay is, as usual, brilliantly researched, boldly argued, and, of course, controversial. The book is a winner." —Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco, University of California, San Diego

Alan Dundes (1934–2005) was professor of anthropology and folklore at the University of California, Berkeley, and published ten books with the University of Wisconsin Press, including Parsing Through Customs: Essays by a Freudian Folklorist; The Vampire: A Casebook; The Blood Libel Legend; and Cinderella: A Casebook. He was also the editor of Recollecting Freud by Isidor Sadger.

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cover of the Cockfight book is an illustration of two abstract cocks

February 1994

LC: 93-30545 SF
302 pp.   6 x 9

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Paper $19.95 s
ISBN 978-0-299-14054-0
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