Documents & Media
- Hauser-Schäublin, Brigitta
- The social organization of irrigation agriculture is an important part of many theories of the origin of the state. Ever since Marx described the organization and control of irrigation agriculture as a central task of rulers in "Oriental" societies, scholars have debated whether extensive irrigation could have existed in preindustrial societies without state intervention. In the Balinese case, Geertz's "theater state" and Lansing's "democratic irrigation model" are explicitly understood as disconfirming Marx's theory of the "Asiatic mode of production" and Wittfogel's theory of "Oriental despotism." This study examines the basis for the theories of Geertz and Lansing and finds that it is only a selective reading of the sources and the partial use of ethnographic data that has permitted their construction. Further discussion of the connection between irrigation and centralized regulation by the state is therefore once again on the agenda. On the basis of this critical reexamination, a theoretical approach to the precolonial Balinese state is developed in which the mobilization of large numbers of neighborhoods to regularly repeated migrations to state temples-pilgrimages-brought people from otherwise unrelated areas together to form "localities" that were essential to the state's imagined community.
- Issue Date
- Current Anthropology
- Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät ; Institut für Ethnologie