The Changing World of Bali: Religion, Society and Tourism, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Changing World of Bali

Religion, Society and Tourism, 1st Edition

By Leo Howe


162 pages

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The glossy guide book image of Bali is of a timeless paradise whose people are devoutly religious and artistically gifted. However, a hundred years of colonialism, war and Indonesian independence, and tourism have produced both modernizing changes and created an image of Bali as ‘traditional’.

Incorporating up-to-date ethnographic field work the book investigates the myriad of ways in which the Balinese has responded to the influx of outside influence. The book focuses on the fascinating interrelationship between tourism, economy, culture and religion in Bali, painting a twenty-first century picture of the Balinese. In documenting these diverse changes Howe critically assesses some of the work of Bali’s most famous ethnographer, Clifford Geertz and demonstrates the importance of a historically grounded and broadly contextualized approach to the analysis of a complex society.


'This is a clearly written book about the complex relationship between religion, social change and cultural identity. It will be valuable for scholars of Southeast Asia, as well as students who wish to familiarise themselves with the world of Bali.' - Asian Journal of Social Science, Vol. 34 No.4 (2006)

'The Changing World of Bali covers an impressive amount of information…Howe's expert and stimulating critical review of most of the issues that continue to absorb scholars on Bali, carried into his treatment of current concerns of Balinese, make this a valuable resource indeed.' - Lene Pedersen, Indonesia, 84, October 2007

'The changing world of Bali represents a well-written account of the state-of-the-art anthropological research on Bali. Leo Howe asks the right questions about contemporary Balinese lide and gives enthnographically inspired answers… it is a 'must read' for those who teach the anthropology of Indonesia.' - Martin Slama, Social Anthropology, Vol. 15 Issue 2, June 2007

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Colonialism, Caste and the Beginnings of Tourism 2. Balinese Character (Assassination?) 3. The Efficacy of Ritual Action and the Transformation of Religion 4. The New Religions of Bali: Agama Hindu and Sathya Sai Baba 5. Controversies over Hierarchy 6. Tourism, Culture and Identity

About the Series

The Modern Anthropology of Southeast Asia

The books in this series address issues in processes of development, globalisation and change in Southeast Asia. Where appropriate they contextualise change and local responses to it by providing ethnographic materials on social and cultural forms and institutions. Although all the contributors to the series examine modern and contemporary issues in the anthropology of Southeast Asia, the emphasis in each book differs as authors choose to concentrate on specific dimensions of change and globalisation or work out particular conceptual approaches to the complex issues of development. Areas of concern include: nation-building, power and the media; technological innovations in agriculture and rural-urban migration; the expansion of industrial and commercial employment; the rapid increase in cultural and ethnic tourism; the consequences of deforestation and environmental degradation; heritage and identity; contemporary expressions of religious affliliation; the 'modernisation of tradition'; ethnic identity and conflict; changing gender relations; and the religious transformation of society.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General