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Managing the Heart to Brighten Face and Soul: Emotions in Balinese Morality and Health Care

Unni Wikan
American Ethnologist
Vol. 16, No. 2 (May, 1989), pp. 294-312
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/645004
Page Count: 19
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Managing the Heart to Brighten Face and Soul: Emotions in Balinese Morality and Health Care
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Abstract

This article contests previous interpretations of Balinese ceremonious grace and enjoins attention to praxis to discover what meanings people themselves attribute to their acts. The theatrical imagery of "masks" and "faces" is judged to be an extraneous imposition, which conceals Balinese compelling concerns. Central, from their perspective, are notions of "managing one's heart" to "make one's face look bright and clear," a shared testimony to what effort it takes to achieve poise and grace. I suggest that this effort derives its motivating force from fear of sorcery linked with notions of morality and health and invoke a Balinese "ethnotheory of emotion" to lay bare connections they emphasize between feeling, expression, vitality and interpersonal morality. Methodologically, I point to the importance of contextualizing interpretations and attending to everyday praxis. [Bali, ethnotheory of emotion, health care, vitality, sorcery]

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