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Editor: H. Geertz
Balinese texts, temples, theatre performances and rituals, in seven essays, are placed into specific political contexts in an effort to gain a deeper understanding of the changing relations between state and society on the complex island of Bali.
How have local communities been linked to various claimants to state sovereignty through Bali's history? What have been the forms and functions of the institutions that have joined peasants with kings and bureaucrats? How have these institutions changed and in what ways have they remained the same over the centuries? How have these relationships been represented by Balinese to themselves? And, how should research on these issues be carried further forward?
The contributors to this volume—I Gusti Ngurah Bagus, Hildred Geertz, Henk Schulte Nordholt, Raechelle Rubinstein, David J. Stuart Fox, Adrian Vickers, and Carol Warren—represent the disciplines of anthropology, literature and history, but all of them cut creatively across disciplinary lines. In contrast to previous Bali research, these studies put more emphasis on historical background and pay close attention to local Balinese perspectives. Early and colonial history form the frame of several papers, while others deal with major changes in the recent past. While each paper taken alone has its own specialized concerns, if the set is read as a series an outline can be discerned, not only of Balinese history and culture, but also of some characteristic features of the new research on Bali being carried out in the 1980s. The interdisciplinary approach of this volume makes it challenging reading for a wider audience of Southeast Asianists.
Author: H. Geertz
In Storytelling in Bali, Hildred Geertz makes a case for the importance of the role of informal storytelling as an engine of social change in Bali in the 1930s. This is a study of more than 200 texts dictated by the painters of the village of Batuan in 1936 to the anthropologist Gregory Bateson. It is completed by three years field work in Batuan in the 1980s.

The tales reveal a set of strong ambivalences about the magical powers of kings, priests and sorcerers, and about social strains within villages and families. These narratives were related in the daily settings of home and coffee shop and also in the spectacular dance-dramas of the time.

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