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In any society, religion and media plays critical roles in defining the social and political stature or structure of such an entity! The foregone norm of a given social order is one of the major attributes of the two subjects in discussion. This book illustrates some of the virulent contributions of religion and media, which invite my interest in confirming and lending an input in the author’s work. It is an analytical book. I say this because; according to the author, the book looks at the practices of Hinduism exhibited by the Balinese in the emergence of the present modern world. He says, “it examines some of the ways in which Balinese have come to understand themselves as adherents to a modern state-sanctioned form of Hinduism through practices mediated by text, television and improvisational theatre.”
Richard’s reflections also display an academic piece of work! This is vividly illustrated by the book set-up; for example, the work starts with the author’s identity, personal experience and the objectives. The aforesaid features are normally carried-out in the book executive summary. An academic article must also embrace list of tables or table of contents as often referred. The authors work clearly shows this section with page references. For example, under the contents there is sub-topic; “Religion, Media and History”…pages 1 to 20. In the main body there are citations; which are revealed by the inclusion of cited works with pages fixed as from 309 to 332. Lastly, the work has a formal conclusion, index and demonstrations (illustrations).
Just as cited above, Richard’s work conveys a message that it is a multi-faceted article. A part from exhibiting both academic and analytical nature, the book also projects itself as a memoir! To support my view, the work commences with the author’s identity and experience in the book publishing field. In the opening remarks, Richard says, “I recently completed ten months field work under the auspices of a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award and have begun writing up the research as an associate in the Department of Anthropology. My primary research and teaching interest lie in the ethnographic and historical study of South and Southeast Asia Religions, with a special emphasis on media and performance in Indonesia and Malay region.”
The author continues, “In 2002, I completed my doctorate in Anthropology and Religious Studies in the School of Oriental and African Studies (University Of London) and have subsequently taught at Williams College and the University of Chicago. My first book, Critical Reflections on Religion and Media in contemporary Bali was published this year in the Numen in the History of Religions (Leiden: Brill)………” In the above excerpts, the author (Richard) qualifies his work by examining his life in the field of book publishing. He outlines his experience and achievements in the world of academia. The writer also exposes his strengths and interests for example, he says, “I have strong interest in theoretical issues in Anthropology, the history of religions and cultural studies.” These forms part of Richard’s life history.
The writer’s work however cannot go unchallenged. He has mainly concentrated on his past life history than focusing on the main subject matter. His work therefore leaves any reader bereft of factual ideas which emanate from the centre of focus! Richard also makes his work look like a mere article; making it hard to distinguish it from either a novel or a research report. The book having such many pages should also be divided into several chapters and reflected in the table of contents for it to look academic.
This book seeks to identify the role of religion especially Hinduism and Media in the modern Asian world, the socio-economic and political impacts which however did not come- out clearly. The political influence in this is how the modern government-sanctioned policies affect the Asian Hindus.