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Home » Destination and Resort, People & Community

On Balinese Village  

by on Friday, 30 March 2007No Comment | 3,721 views

As all things Balinese, Balinese villages are peculiar, complicated, and extraordinarily diverse. There is no simple uniformity of social structure to be found over the whole of the small, crowded countryside, no straightforward form of village organization easily pictured in terms of single typological construction, no “average” village, a description of which may well stand for the whole.

Rather, there is a set of marvelously complex social systems, no one of which is quite like any other, no one of which fails to show some marked peculiarity of form. Even contiguous villages may be quite differently organized; formal elements–such as caste or kinship–of central importance in one village may be of marginal significance in another; neither simplicity nor uniformity is Balinese virtue.

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However, there are some fundamental elements that are shared by most of the village in Bali. First, all village in Bali consist of three or more Banjar, hamlet, a big village has more than 12 banjar. The socio-political power of the village is in the hand of the banjars that form the respective village. The village is merely a coordinator of the banjar. All village duties and right are shared by the banjars that form that village. For example: It is the duty of the banjars to hold a regular festival in Kahyangan Tiga (set of village temples). And the village land is cultivated or managed by the banjar that gets the responsibility to hold the village temple ceremony that year.

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Most of the villages in Bali has a set of village temple – Pura Puseh (the temple of origin), Pura Desa (the civic temple), and Pura Dalem (temple of death). The Pura Puseh and Pura Desa are usually situated in the center of the village, in some village both temples are incorporated into a single compound. Pura Dalem is located near the graveyard; some village has two Pura Dalem, but there is no village that has two Pura Puseh or Pura Desa.

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Each village in Bali has its own awig-awig, a customary law. The awig-awig is created in a forum of village member (pesangkepan). This forum discuss all aspects of this customary, each rule is examined carefully and debated vigorously, so the rule can accommodate the interests of all village members. This traditional customary law is reviewed every year and if necessary a forum of village members (pesangkepan) will be held for an awig-awig amendment. The awig-awig is kept in the Pura Puseh (temple of origin) in each village.

And requirement to become a village member in most of the villages in Bali is the same. Every normal married man who owns a house or plot of land in the village territory is compelled to join the village and his refusal would be punished by denial of all assistance, confiscation of his property, and possibly even exile from the village.

Some materials for this writing are taken from Clifford Geertz’sFormand Variation in Balinese Villages

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