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More Than WordsTransforming Script, Agency, and Collective Life in Bali$
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Richard Fox

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781501725340

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501725340.001.0001

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Tradition as Argument

Tradition as Argument

(p.121) Chapter 6 Tradition as Argument
More Than Words

Richard Fox

Cornell University Press

This chapter argues for the idea of tradition as the temporal condition of practice. It is suggested that anthropologists and historians necessarily presuppose tradition – or something like it – when they set out to interpret other people’s practices as reasonable human action. The chapter reviews positive, genealogical and operationalized models of tradition, as applied to Southeast Asian culture and society. But each comes up wanting. So, as an alternative, the chapter returns to MacIntyre to examine his approach to tradition as an ‘argument extended through time’. This account of tradition is considered with specific reference to a public ritual-cum-parade called the Grebeg Aksara, which was organized by the Balinese scholar and public intellectual, Ida Wayan Oka Granoka. As with MacIntyre’s account of practice (Chapter 5), the ethnography seems to suggest certain limitations in his approach to tradition.

Keywords:   writing, tradition, practice, MacIntyre, argument, Bali

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