Demotion as Value

Rank Infraction among the Ngadha in Flores, Indonesia

in Social Analysis
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A plausible reading by Joel Robbins of Louis Dumont as a value pluralist serves as the point of departure for this article. The value discrepancies in focus here are two fundamentally different ideological constructs. One manifests as a social organization characterized by hereditary rank based on notions of purity. The other echoes notions of a more egalitarian social order. The first is rooted in the cosmo-mythical past, the second in a much more recent discourse. The social organization premised on rank and purity is rapidly losing ground—in part due to the influence of ‘the modern’, but even more so because its internal logic works against it. Empirically, the article centers on a complex ritual in which the opposing values are triggered, producing profound emotional turmoil.

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology