Gender Related Social Groups

Typically in village Bali, an extended family lives in a house-yard which is a subset of a patrilineal descent or ancestor group. The house-yard is usually allocated by the hamlet (banjar) or customary village (desa adat). Rights to residence entail ritual responsibilities related to community obligations for death ceremonies, upkeep of the village temples and respect for the ancestors, stewardship of the territory, public works, and obedience to the community's rules.

Residence rights require that a responsible married man occupies the house-yard. (This is an increasing problem as many younger men participate in the urban economy.) Such a family consists of a senior male with wife/wives and sons, each with wife and children living around their own kitchen. Daughters marry out. The basic social unit is a father-mother united in marriage.

The patrilocal residence pattern and agnatic inheritance tradition mean that women are marginal to the core structure of kin groups and residence units. Upon marriage, if it is exogamous, women take leave of their natal ancestors and adopt and honor their husbands' ancestors. Endogamy within a variety of groups (descent groups, caste/status groups, and villages) is desirable.

Social life outside the family is generally conducted in gender-segregated groups. Men are active in sports groups such as badminton, football, and snooker, and in neighborhood patrols. Women do not generally congregate for leisure, and have less leisure time than men. Both men and women often work cooperatively to make offerings and prepare for ceremonies, but always in gender-segregated groups with specific functions. Women rarely form corporate groups. However, both men and women participate in ephemeral purpose-specific groups known as sekehe—these are sometimes gender-specific (e.g., men go squirrel hunting) and sometimes open (e.g., men and women form a harvesting sekehe to raise money for an upcoming religious festival). Intergender social interaction is traditionally rare, to the extent that it is difficult for strangers to work out the families and married couples in a community. Increasingly, schools, work-places, shopping malls, and tourist venues provide sites for new types of social mixing; Western tourist behavior, television, and other global media provide new social models.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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