Balinese - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. Balinese individuals and kin groups identify themselves as being members of one of four hereditary caste groups. These groups are said to have in the past corresponded to occupational categories, although this is no longer the case. Ninety percent of the population is Sudra, the group said to have been farmers and considered to be of lower caste. Certain ritual activities are reserved to priests of the Brahman caste and the former rulers who were of the Ksaytria and Wesia castes, but other members of these groups are, and were, farmers and merchants. Families belonging to the three higher castes are more likely to be part of supravil1age ancestor-temple groups.

Political Organization. Bali is one of the twenty-eight provinces of the nation of Indonesia. The province is divided into seven regions ( kabupaten ), each of which is subdivided into districts ( kecamatan ). Districts are divided into villages ( desa ), which are composed of subunits ( banjar ). The units above the village level carry out regional and national policy. The village-level officials are elected by the village council, which is made up of male heads of household. These leaders execute governmental policies such as registration of land sales, births and deaths, and also organize local projects including the repair of facilities and the holding of local elections.

Social Control. Above the village level there is a police force. In the village there is a system of fines for residents who do not attend meetings or group work projects. However, informal control mechanisms such as gossip and group pressure are used more frequently.

Conflict. The Balinese avoid the open expression of conflict. Villagers who have protracted quarrels such as legal disputes over inheritance usually try to avoid each other. Supravillage conflict formerly led to warfare.

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