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Ethnography (Milestone 3) Bali is one of Indonesia's most prosperous provinces and wet-rice production is their economic mainstays (Jha 4). For this ethnography project, the cultural group that was investigated is the Balinese of Indonesia from a post colonial period. There are several topics with respect to the cultural group that are discussed in this paper such as gender roles, kinship, and marriage. These topics have great importance in understanding the social structure of the families of Bali. According to Scupin, "Some societies approve of premarital and extramarital sexual relations, whereas others strictly segregate males from females to prohibit such relations" (Scupin 70). The role of Balinese women is of great importance in their society's everyday life. Women are primarily important as mothers because they are organizers and are caring nurturers. It is the mother who is responsible for the physical, moral, and ritual care of children. These responsibilities include cooking and feeding, cleaning, laundry, housework, dressing, teaching of everyday life skills, responsibility for the child's ritual purity and safety, teaching of manners and guidance on children's social problems and moral training (Parker 163). Balinese women do not attempt to compete against men as equals and nor do they threaten the higher power of men meaning they accept to be an inferior role. It's also mention that Balinese women don't suffer from the disadvantages of their lack of participation in decision making. "Women are considered complementary yet subordinate to men in religious and popular discourse, but social writ does not explicitly bar them from decision making in any setting", according to Nitish Jha (Jha 3). Women can own and manage land, and may also inherit all that her patriline has to bequeath, including land and ritual subak membership. Since agriculture is the economic mainstay, both genders can be seen taking care of cultivating and maintaining their farms. An example of this contribution is where men would tie bundles after the women cut the grain stalks, and also when men reap bundles of stalks, they would hand them to women, who thresh them (Jha 11). Jobs that require strength that is too heavy or dangerous are done by the men. Men are mostly outside or in the community doing work as oppose to staying home. With the farming experience gained by men, it entails them decision making in agriculture (Jha 12). Outside of the agriculture vicinity, men can wage war. The man is the head of the household and the principal decision maker in the view of the Indonesian state (Jha 13). A subset of the patrilineal descent group, the basic social unit is the father and mother united in marriage. Viewed as opposite in all things, but yet marriage unites two disparate entities, male and female. Although the male and female are opposite, they are still interdependent. The main objective of marriages is the creation of children. Marriages were traditionally arranged by families or conducted by elopement, but more recently, it is less arranged. Young men has prevailed recently over unwilling brides to be. This latter method allowed young people to obtain disapproval of marriage by the community, but parental approval is still essential. There is also marriage by abduction where the husband makes a payment to the bride's father, varying from 10,000 to 50,000 kepengs (Belo 26). According to another article, the female is never allowed to marry a younger generational male, but the opposite is tolerated (Boon 10). It is acceptable of the principle of marrying within a group. "Endogamy is preferred, within a variety of groups, including patrilineages, caste or status groups and banjar" (Parker 160). Endogamy is marriage between people of the same social group or category (Scupin 138). It's not surprising that there are high rates of endogamy for Bali because endogamy was designed to reproduce and maintain. On the other hand, hypogamy was forbidden among high castes. This issue remains of great significance because when this occurs, women are traditionally thrown away by her family thus losing her caste identity. "Women's endogamy maintains a group's identity by defining its borders and advertising its character as strong, vital, and pure" (Parker 161). It is usually a sign of expansion of a patrilineage when powerful men seek marriage partners of another group. In order to help regulate choice of marriage partner, status disparities are important. Women's average age at marriage was advanced by Indonesian standards in the 1960s in Bali (Parker 161). That standard has probably risen. Premarital sex is often unavoidable, but virginity at marriage is desired. Most weddings occur most probable because of prior sexual intercourse. According to Parker, the problem with premarital sex is potentially that a woman may not have a marriage partner rather than the premarital violation of female virginity (Parker 161). Girls should quickly marry the father of the unborn child upon pregnancy to prevent suspicion of premarital sex. Suspicion of premarital sex can push families to force conjugation, particularly if the coupling is auspicious. In accordance to a small number of women whom Parker has spoken to, sex is controlled and initiated by men. The ideal wife is neither seductive nor lustful. Desire for sex and the creation of children are not separated in the early stages of a relationship or marriage. Once a woman is married, they would move into their husband's house and live with the husband's parents and brothers in law and their families. Brides are in a weak and powerless position until they produce a baby, especially a son. It is often that the mother in law expects the new wife to take over the greater part of the housework, cooking, shopping, and laundry. They also have the primary responsibility of childcare as well. The mothers in law typically perform much of the ritual work such as the making of offerings of the house. Extramarital affairs are common, but apparently more common for men than for women. Men's affairs are made more public while married women do not admit to conducting affairs. Polygyny on the other hand is officially discouraged, but high-caste men do practice it. Many village government positions are held by high-caste men which can be an issue. It seems to Parker that men's fear and control of female sexuality is partly based on their fear of appearing ridiculous, of being cheated, of losing face and of being bested in the eyes of other men (Parker 162). While sexual promiscuity is valorized for men, making them appear strong, potent and attractive in the eyes of both men and women, it isn't condoned the other way for women. Should there be a divorce, women must surrender their children to their husband's patrilineage because they have no rights of access to the family wealth and property. Divorcing ends up being very difficult and traumatic for women as oppose to men. It can be concluded that the role of a woman in Balinese culture is viewed to be inferior to a man because men have more privileges compared to women. The women in Bali have to put themselves through such stress to take care of the whole family including her in laws ranging from housekeeping to nurturing. But because of these roles the married women plays, it contributes to maintaining the structure of their families. Only through marriage can there be both woman and man to help sustain and care for a family in Bali. The creation of offspring is also the primary reason of marriage in Balinese culture which contrast to some outside world marriages. Overall, men engages in jobs that require strength and the decision making in the household while women take up jobs as mothers and nurturers.
Words (1271)
Scupin, Raymond, 2012. Cultural Anthropology: A Global Perspective, 8th edition, New York: Pearson.
Parker, Lyn, 2003. From Subjects to citizens: Balinese villagers in the Indonesian nation-state. Copenhagen: Nordic Institute of Asian Studies.
Geertz, Clifford, 1959. "Form and Variation in Balinese Village Structure". American Anthropologist 61.6 (1959): 991-1012. AnthroSource. Web. 28 Jul. 2013.
Belo, Jane. "A Study Of A Balinese Family". American Anthropologist 38.1 (1936): 12-31. AnthroSource. Web. 28 Jul. 2013.
Boon, James. "The Balinese marriage predicament; individual, strategical, cultural". American Ethnologist 3.2 (1976): 191-214. AnthroSource. Web. 28 Jul. 2013.
Jha, Nitish, 2004. "Gender and decision making in Balinese agriculture". American Ethnologist 31.4 (2004): 552-572. AnthroSource. Web. 28 Jul. 2013.
Barnard, Alan, and Jonathan Spencer, 1996, 1998, 2002. Encyclopedia of Social and Cultural Anthropology. London & New York: Routledge

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