Theses Doctoral

Balinese Ways of Knowing: A case study of Pejarakan Village

Ambasta, Sumita

This study investigated Balinese ways of knowing, locating where they were found, their modes of transmission within the community, and the role schooling played in this transmission. Through this inquiry, the research interrogated the construction of identity in a Balinese village and the relationship of identity to indigeneity in Bali. Undertaking a praxis of decoloniality by adopting indigenous methodologies to center Balinese voices is key to producing research about Indigenous people. Adopting indigenous methodologies helped uncover Balinese practices that were crucial in the active construction of Balinese identity in Pejarakan Village. The researcher interviewed Elders in a Balinese village and supplemented their testimonies with digital multimodal artifacts.

Balinese ways of knowing were found in practices within the village adat community, through testimonies of elders who were knowledge keepers of religious practices, healing traditions, performing arts, and village governance institutions of the adat and the subak. Every type of knowledge existed within a smaller community of practice within the village adat community. The village adat community was the Indigenous community of practice where these ways of knowing were found both in practices and textual traditions. People in Pejarakan Village constructed their Balinese identity by enacting Indigenous practices, which have evolved as a form of resistance to survival events and external forces of change. Including religion in schooling and community practices was critical for constructing identity and indigeneity. The revival of the Balinese language also played a critical role in articulating indigeneity. Through a local, regional, and national analysis of indigeneity, it was evident that the Balinese had moved towards emergent Indigeneity and were actively seeking self-determination.

The inclusion of Balinese ways of knowing within education research creates methodological diversity by including indigenous methodologies to create testimonial and epistemic justice for people from the non-Western worlds. Like those from Bali, indigenous ways of knowing offer critical pathways an opportunity to learn about language, religion, schooling, sustainability of nature, and the community. The inclusion of Balinese ways of knowing within an ongoing Indigenous knowledge generation within the academy contributes to epistemic diversity.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
International and Transcultural Studies
Thesis Advisors
Cortina, Regina
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
November 9, 2022