Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, Anthropology and Museum Studies, Central Washington University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 1997
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, University of Southern California
The Sphere of the Keris: Power and People in a Balinese Princedom

“Homo hierarchius and Homo aequalis are engaged in Bali in war without end.” Thus remarked Geertz and Geertz in 1975 (167). The proposed research is to undertake, through explicit comparison with studies of caste in South Asia (i.a. Dumont 1966, Srinivas 1966, Burghart 1978, Dirks 1987), an investigation of this “war” or negotiation through Balinese caste practices. Formal ideology, reinterpretations of “tradition,” as well as the systems of practices of both the hierarchal and egalitarian traditions will be examined with attention to counter-dominance behavior (Boehm 1993). Survey instruments, videotape analysis, life-history narratives and direct observation will be employed to investigate the fundamental questions about caste in a fresh setting where the most basic issue of all, the tension between hierarchy and egalitarianism, is posed in the routine interactions of everyday life in a Balinese village. As such, this study of caste practices may contribute a new perspective to our views of hierarchy and egalitarianism in general.