Perfect Order

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Perfect Order: Recognizing Complexity in Bali is a 2006 book by anthropologist J. Stephen Lansing about Balinese culture. It focuses on the development of Balinese wet-rice agriculture over the last several hundred years, particularly the subak irrigation system. Lansing argues that the subak system came about through a process of self-organization characterized by complex interactions among the politics of local communities, growing conditions, the strict Balinese caste system and interacting religious structures. [1] [2] [3]

In 2007, Perfect Order won the Julian Steward Book Award from the Anthropology and Environment section of the American Anthropological Association. [4] It is considered a work of interest to ecologists, archaeologists, and those who study Southeast Asia more generally. However, the book has been more contentious among some anthropologists of Bali, particularly because of Lansing's relative under-use of works in the anthropology of Bali since Clifford Geertz's 1980 book Negara: The Theatre State in Nineteenth-Century Bali . [5]

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<i>Negara: The Theatre State in Nineteenth-Century Bali</i>

Negara: The Theatre State in Nineteenth-Century Bali is a 1980 book written by anthropologist Clifford Geertz. Geertz argues that the pre-colonial Balinese state was not a "hydraulic bureaucracy" nor an oriental despotism, but rather, an organized spectacle. The noble rulers of the island were less interested in administering the lives of the Balinese than in dramatizing their rank and hence political superiority through large public rituals and ceremonies. These cultural processes did not support the state, he argues, but were the state.

It is perhaps most clear in what was, after all, the master image of political life: kingship. The whole of the negara - court life, the traditions that organized it, the extractions that supported it, the privileges that accompanied it - was essentially directed toward defining what power was; and what power was what kings were. Particular kings came and went, 'poor passing facts' anonymized in titles, immobilized in ritual, and annihilated in bonfires. But what they represented, the model-and-copy conception of order, remained unaltered, at least over the period we know much about. The driving aim of higher politics was to construct a state by constructing a king. The more consummate the king, the more exemplary the centre. The more exemplary the centre, the more actual the realm.

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J. Stephen Lansing is an American anthropologist and complexity scientist. He is especially known from his decades of research on the emergent properties of human-environmental interactions in Bali, Borneo and the Malay Archipelago; social-ecological modeling, and complex adaptive systems. He is an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute and the Complexity Science Hub Vienna; a visiting scholar at the Hoffman Global Institute for Business and Society at INSEAD Singapore, and emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona.

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Stephen Fuchs was an Austrian Catholic priest, missionary, and anthropologist who researched the ethnology and prehistory of India. After obtaining a Ph.D. in ethnology and Indology from the University of Vienna in 1950, Fuchs moved to India where he assisted in founding the Department of Anthropology at St. Xavier's College in Bombay. After a brief imprisonment for being misidentified as a German missionary by the British government during World War II, Fuchs founded the Indian Branch of the Anthropos Institute, later renamed the Institute of Indian Culture. Fuchs, because of health concerns, moved to Austria in 1996 and died at the age of 91 in Mödling, Austria.

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  1. Heider, Karl G. (2008). "Perfect Order: Recognizing Complexity in Bali. By J. Stephen Lansing. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2006. Xii, 225 $37.95 (cloth)". The Journal of Asian Studies. 67 (2). doi:10.1017/S0021911808001095. JSTOR   20203416.
  2. Johnsen, Scott A. (2009). "Perfect Order: Recognizing Complexity in Bali". The Australian Journal of Anthropology. 20 (3): 388–390. doi:10.1111/j.1757-6547.2009.00049.x.
  3. Perfect Order: Recognizing Complexity in Bali [ permanent dead link ]. Santa Fe Institute & University of Arizona. March 16, 2006.
  4. "Perfect Order". Princeton University Press. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  5. Howe, Leo (2006). "Perfect Order: Recognizing Complexity in Bali (review)". Anthropological Quarterly. 79 (4): 777–782. doi:10.1353/anq.2006.0051. JSTOR   4150936.

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