Afflictions pp 157-176 | Cite as

Ritual Burdens: Culturally Defined Stressors and Developmental Progressions

  • Robert Lemelson
  • Annie Tucker
Part of the Culture, Mind, and Society book series (CMAS)


The ethnographic film Ritual Burdens follows Ni Ketut Kasih, a Balinese woman whose ceremonial obligations trigger episodes of behavioral disorder and emotional disturbance for which she has been hospitalized over 35 times. Ketut’s case exemplifies a personal schema of stress wherein cultural obligations, traumatic historical events, biography, and neurobiology overlap to trigger cyclical episodes of mental illness. At the same time, Ketut’s story exemplifies the benefits of family support, impersonal attribution, and non-stigmatizing labeling when living with a chronic, disruptive, and emotionally dysregulated condition. The chapter discusses Ketut’s shifting attitudes toward the filmmaking process, from enthusiasm to the pain of watching herself age, struggle with illness episodes, and exhibit the side effects of her tardive dyskinesia on-screen.


Balinese Women Traumatic Historical Events Balinese Culture Balinese Ritual Ritual Obligations 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Lemelson
    • 1
  • Annie Tucker
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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