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Theatre state

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In political anthropology, a theatre state is a political state directed towards the performance of drama and ritual rather than towards more conventional ends such as warfare and welfare. Power in a theatre state is exercised through spectacle. The term, coined by Clifford Geertz (1926–2006) in 1980 in reference to political practice in the nineteenth-century Balinese Negara,[1] has since expanded in usage. Hunik Kwon and Byung-Ho Chung, for example, regard contemporary North Korea as a theatre state.[2] In Geertz's original usage, the concept of the theatre state contests the notion that precolonial society can be analysed in the conventional discourse of Oriental despotism.[3]

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  1. ^ Geertz, Clifford (1980). Negara: The Theatre State in Nineteenth-Century Bali. Alexander Street anthropology. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 13. ISBN 9780691007786. Retrieved 12 April 2023. It was a theatre state in which the kings and princes were the impresarios, the priests the directors, and the peasants the supporting cast, stage crew, and audience.
  2. ^ Kwon, Heonik; Byung-Ho Chung (2012). North Korea: Beyond Charismatic Politics. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 4. ISBN 9781442215771. Retrieved 12 April 2023. [...] Wadi Haruki, one of the most astute observers of North Korea, has coined the idea of the 'theater state,' following anthropologist Clifford Geertz's classical study of ritual politics and spectacles of power in Indonesia. Wada presents the idea as a paradigm for the North Korean political process and development in the era of Kim Jong Il [...] See also Chapter 2: "The Modern Theater State"
  3. ^ Heder, S. "Political Theatre in the 2003 Cambodian Elections", in Strauss, J. C. & O'Brien, D. C. (eds.) (2007) Staging Politics: Power and Performance in Asia and Africa. I. B. Tauris, p. 151.