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Rivalling Rituals, Challenged Identities: Accusations Of Ritual Mistakes As An Expression Of Power Struggles In Bali (Indonesia)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter describes Balinese temple rituals in the context of power relations between different groups of people. The politically and socially sometimes tense relationship between such groups are reflected in the performance of rituals and the debates about the 'right' and 'wrong' ways of performing these. The chapter discusses contested temple rituals by using two different examples: a recent one from a village in South Bali, Intaran, and a historical one as reflected in oral histories and religious practices from Sembiran in North Bali. The two villages today display remarkable differences concerning their social organisation. The former was ruled by a local lord who was part of a segmentary kingdom with hierarchically ranked title-bearing status groups. Apart from nobles, there were several brahmana compounds located in the village. The chapter attempts to outline the facts about animals (dogs, cows, pigs) in Sembiran as known today.

Keywords: Balinese temple; brahmana ritual; power struggle; religious literature; Sembiran



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