Negara

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Princeton University Press, 1980 - Political Science - 295 pages
5 Reviews

Combining great learning, interpretative originality, analytical sensitivity, and a charismatic prose style, Clifford Geertz has produced a lasting body of work with influence throughout the humanities and social sciences, and remains the foremost anthropologist in America.

His 1980 book Negara analyzed the social organization of Bali before it was colonized by the Dutch in 1906. Here Geertz applied his widely influential method of cultural interpretation to the myths, ceremonies, rituals, and symbols of a precolonial state. He found that the nineteenth-century Balinese state defied easy conceptualization by the familiar models of political theory and the standard Western approaches to understanding politics.

Negara means "country" or "seat of political authority" in Indonesian. In Bali Geertz found negara to be a "theatre state," governed by rituals and symbols rather than by force. The Balinese state did not specialize in tyranny, conquest, or effective administration. Instead, it emphasized spectacle. The elaborate ceremonies and productions the state created were "not means to political ends: they were the ends themselves, they were what the state was for.... Power served pomp, not pomp power." Geertz argued more forcefully in Negara than in any of his other books for the fundamental importance of the culture of politics to a society.

Much of Geertz's previous work--including his world-famous essay on the Balinese cockfight--can be seen as leading up to the full portrait of the "poetics of power" that Negara so vividly depicts.

  

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Review: Negara: The Theatre State in Nineteenth-Century Bali

User Review  - Qi Xiang - Goodreads

First three chapters, which were mind-numbingly boring, were too long. The interesting last two chapters (Chapter 4 and Conclusion) were too short. The boring parts perhaps could not have been written ... Read full review

Review: Negara: The Theatre State in Nineteenth-Century Bali

User Review  - Paula - Goodreads

I remember very little about this -- I read it for school. because I was just burning through it at the time, I can't give it a fair rating. I should read it again. But it does contain one of my ... Read full review

Contents

1ntroduct1on Bali and Historical Method
3
The Sources of Order
11
The Internal Organization
26
The Village and the State
45
Spectacle and Ceremony
98
conclusion Bali and Political Theory
121
Notes
137
Glossary
259
Bibliography
267
Index
289
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About the author (1980)

Clifford Geertz, an American anthropologist, is known for his studies of Islam in Indonesia and Morocco and of the peasant economy of Java. But he is also the leading exponent of an orientation in the social sciences called "interpretation". Social life, according to this view, is organized in terms of symbols whose meaning we must grasp if we are to understand that organization and formulate its principles. Interpretative explanations focus on what institutions, actions, customs, and so on mean to the people involved. What emerges from studies of this kind are not laws of society, and certainly not statistical relationships, but rather interpretations, that is to say, understanding. Geertz taught for 10 years at the University of Chicago and has been the Harold F. Linder professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

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