SOAS University of London

Centre for Global Media and Communications

Professor Mark Hobart

MA(Cantab) PhD(London)
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Expertise
  • Publications



Before the Media & Film Programme became a separate entity, I was involved in developing contemporary human science theory courses in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology over some twenty years, as well as rethinking regional ethnography courses through an analysis of the hegemonic texts that defined regions, cultures and important issues. I have devised courses on semiotics and ethnographic film. Currently I teach approaches to television and audiences, popular film in maritime South East Asia and Theoretical Issues in Media and Cultural Studies, the core course of the new MA in Critical Media and Cultural Studies and organize the MPhil Research Training Programme.

Since 1990 I have been engaged in building up archives of Indonesian television materials for educational use. This project now has an archive of some 2,000 hours of recordings of cultural broadcasts on Indonesian television, which comprises part of the Balinese and Javanese Research Archive (BAJRA), of which I am director. We are currently working with the leading centres of performing arts in Indonesia to produce a series of audio CDs and DVDs of important performances of music and dance; and also on an archival project to record the works of young choreographers and composers.

Having spent some eight years in Indonesia, mostly in Bali, perhaps unsurprisingly I have a strong interest in performing arts and their mass mediation. With the Balinese singer-dancer, Ni Madé Pujawati, I have developed a series of lecture-performances on aspects of Balinese dance and opera. We are also working on the translation and analysis of a performance of Arja, Balinese dance-opera, in multimedia format.

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Professor Mark Hobart's Inaugural Lecture: "A Very Peculiar Practice"


I have worked on Balinese culture and indigenous philosophy, and Indonesian discourses of development, from 1970 until it became difficult to ignore the social consequences of television. The mass media raised ethnographic and theoretical challenges about how to analyze and understand what was happening, which led me to research theatre, television and audiences from the late 1980s. My current research is on public life as performance as the mass media increasingly permeate Indonesian society.

My recent research has been into changes in contemporary mass media in Indonesia. In particular I have been interested in the role of television, radio, print and the Internet in framing public discourse – how Indonesians imagine themselves and others in different media. This is part of a longer-term project on how maritime South East Asians are represented in Euro-American media as against how South East Asians understand themselves and the rest of the world in their media. I am trying to address the problems of over-interpretation of media ‘content’ by looking at intermedia commentary and, through ethnography, at production practices in television stations and newspapers in Central Java and Bali to understand how Indonesians engage with the media in their professional and personal lives.

The current theoretical confusion in media and cultural studies has attracted my long-standing interest in the philosophical problems in the human sciences. For disciplines that began in theoretical critique, media and cultural studies are now remarkably under-theorized and critiques from post-structuralism and elsewhere largely ignored. So I have written about the presuppositions behind ideas of articulation and representation, culture, media and ideas about the human subject.

Another research interest is performance, media and audiences. Since 1988 I have been working on theatre in Bali as the means by which Balinese argued over who they were and their place in the world. Central issues were how audiences understood what was going on and what happened when culture became increasingly mediated by television. This led to a study on regional television and the articulation of ideas of culture in Indonesia. The research raises questions of performativity and practice. It is instructive to consider public life itself as performative and to contrast Euro-American ideas about the function of theatre and performance with Indonesian understandings. There is also a stark contrast between intellectual accounts or reviews of theatre performances and television programmes and the practices and understandings of producers, actors and audiences.


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Available for
Regional Expertise
  • South East Asia
Country Expertise
  • Indonesia


Authored Books

Hobart, Mark (2000) After culture: anthropology as radical metaphysical critique. Yogyakarta: Duta Wacana University Press.


Hobart, Mark (2017) 'Bali is a battlefield Or the triumph of the imaginary over actuality'. Jurnal Kajian Bali (Journal of Bali Studies), (7) 1, pp 187-212.

Hobart, Mark (2015) 'Beyond the Whorfs of Dover: A Study of Balinese Interpretive Practices'. Heidelberg Ethnology 1, pp 1-20.

Hobart, Mark (2014) 'Introduction: Rethinking Asian Media and Film'. Asian Journal of Social Science. Speical issue: Rethinking Asian media and film, (44) 5, pp 425-436.

Hobart, Mark (2014) 'Introduction'. Asian Journal of Social Science. Speical issue: Rethinking Asian media and film.

Hobart, Mark (2014) 'When is Indonesia?'. Asian Journal of Social Science, (41) 5, pp 510-529.

Hobart, Mark (2011) 'The relevance of cultural and media studies to theatre and television in Bali'. Jurnal Kajian Bali (Journal of Bali Studies), (1) 2, pp 63-75.

Hobart, Mark (2011) 'Bali is a brand: a critical approach'. Jurnal Kajian Bali (Journal of Bali Studies), (1) 1, pp 1-26.

Hobart, Mark (2010) 'Rich kids can’t cry: reflections on the viewing subject in Bali'. About Performance, (10), pp 199-222.

Hobart, Mark (2007) 'Rethinking Balinese Dance'. Indonesia and the Malay World, (35) 101, pp 107-128.

Hobart, Mark (2006) 'Just Talk? Anthropological Reflections on the Object of Media Studies in Indonesia'. Asian Journal of Social Science, (34) 3, pp 492-519.

Hobart, Mark (2006) 'Entertaining illusions: how Indonesian élites imagine reality TV affects the masses'. Entertainment media in Indonesia. Special Edition of Asian Journal of Communication, (16) 4, pp 393-410.

Hobart, Mark (2006) 'Just talk? anthropological reflections on the object of media studies in Indonesia'. Asian journal of social science, (34) 3, pp 492-519.

Hobart, Mark (2006) 'Introduction: why is entertainment television in Indonesia important?'. Special Edition of Asian Journal of Communication, (16) 4, pp 343-351.

Hobart, Mark (2000) 'The end of the world news: television and a problem of articulation in Bali'. International journal of cultural studies, (3) 1, pp 79-102.

Hobart, Mark (1997) 'The missing subject: Balinese time and the elimination of history'. Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs, (31) 1, pp 123-172.

Hobart, Mark (1996) 'Ethnography as a practice, or the unimportance of penguins'. Europaea, (2) 1, pp 3-36.

Hobart, Mark (1991) 'Criticizing genres: Bakhtin and Bali'. Voice, genre, text: anthropological essays in Africa and beyond, (73) 3, pp 195-216.

Edited Books or Journals

Hobart, Mark, (ed.), (2013) Special Issue: Rethinking Asian media and film. Leiden: Brill. (The Asian Journal of Social Science Vol. 41 (5)).

Hobart, Mark and Fox, Richard, (eds.), (2006) Entertainment media in Indonesia. Singapore: Asian Media Information and Communication Centre.

Book Chapters

Hobart, Mark (2011) 'Live or dead? Televised theatre and its audiences in Bali'. In: Chan, Felicia and Karpovich, Angelina and Zhang, Xin, (eds.), Genre in Asian film and television: new approaches. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp 13-32.

Hobart, Mark (2010) 'Media as practice: a brief exchange'. In: Bräuchler, B. and Postill, J., (eds.), Theorising Media and Practice. Oxford: Berghahn, pp 77-82.

Hobart, Mark (2010) 'What do we mean by ‘media practices’?'. In: Bräuchler, B. and Postill, J., (eds.), Theorising Media and Practice. Oxford: Berghahn, pp 55-75.

Hobart, Mark (2007) 'Black umbrellas: labelling and articulating development in the Indonesian mass media'. In: Moncrieffe, J. and Eyben, R., (eds.), Labelling people: how and why our categories matter. London: Earthscan, pp 128-142.

Hobart, Mark (2007) 'Round up the usual suspects: some radical implications of Indonesian and Euro-American media coverage of ‘terrorist’ attacks'. In: Nossek, Hillel and Sonwalkar, Prasun and Sreberny, Annabelle, (eds.), Media and Political Violence. Creskill, N.J.: Hampton Press, pp 183-210.

Hobart, Mark (2005) 'The profanity of the media'. In: Rothenbuhler, Eric and Coman, Mihai, (eds.), Media Anthropology. London: Sage, pp 26-35.

Hobart, Mark (2002) 'Live or dead? Televising theatre in Bali'. In: Ginsburg, Faye and Abu-Lughod, Lila and Larkin, Brian, (eds.), Media worlds: anthropology on new terrain. Berkeley; Los Angeles; London: University of California Press, pp 370-382.

Hobart, Mark (2001) 'Lances greased with pork fat: imagining difference in Bali'. In: Schlee, Günther, (ed.), Imagined differences: hatred and the construction of identity. Hamburg: LIT Verlag, pp 101-122.

Hobart, Mark (2001) 'Drunk on the screen: Balinese conversations about television and advertising'. In: Moeran, Brian, (ed.), Asian Media Productions. London: Routledge Curzon, pp 197-222.

Hobart, Mark (1999) 'As they like it: overinterpretation and hyporeality in Bali'. In: Dilley, Roy, (ed.), The Problem of Context. Oxford: Berghahn, pp 105-145.

Hobart, Mark (1995) 'Engendering Disquiet: On Kinship and Gender in Bali'. In: Karim, Wazir Jahan, (ed.), 'Male' and 'Female' in developing Southeast Asia. Oxford: Berg, pp 121-144.

Hobart, Mark (1993) 'Introduction: the growth of ignorance?'. In: Hobart, Mark, (ed.), An anthropological critique of development: the growth of ignorance?. London; New York: Routledge, pp 1-30.

Hobart, Mark (1991) 'The art of measuring mirages, or is there kinship in Bali?'. In: Hüsken, Frans and Kemp, Jeremy, (eds.), Cognation and social organization in Southeast Asia. Leiden: KITLV Press, pp 33-53.

Hobart, Mark (1990) 'Who do you think you are? the authorized Balinese'. In: Fardon, Richard, (ed.), Localizing strategies: regional traditions of ethnographic writing. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, pp 303-338.

Hobart, Mark (1987) 'Is God Evil?'. In: Parkin, David, (ed.), The Anthropology of Evil. Oxford: Blackwell, pp 165-193.

Hobart, Mark (1987) 'Summer's days and salad days: the coming of age of anthropology?'. In: Holy, Ladislav, (ed.), Comparative anthropology. Oxford: Blackwell, pp 22-51.

Hobart, Mark (1986) 'Introduction: Context, Meaning, and Power'. In: Hobart, Mark and Taylor, Robert H., (eds.), Context, Meaning, and Power in Southeast Asia. Ithaca. N.Y.: Cornell Southeast Asia Program, pp 7-10.

Hobart, Mark (1985) 'Teste est un con'. In: Barnes, Robert Harrison and de Copet, D. and Parkin, R.J., (eds.), Contexts and levels: anthropological essays on hierarchy. Oxford: JASO, pp 33-53.

Hobart, Mark (1982) 'Meaning or Moaning? An Ethnographic Note on a Little-Understood Tribe'. In: Parkin, David, (ed.), Semantic Anthropology. London: Academic Press, pp 39-63.

Hobart, Mark (1978) 'Pad, Puns and the Attribution of Responsibility'. In: Milner, G.B., (ed.), Natural Symbols in South East Asia. London: SOAS, pp 55-87.

Hobart, Mark (1978) 'The path of the soul: the legitimacy of nature in Balinese conceptions of space'. In: Milner, G.B., (ed.), Natural Symbols in South East Asia. London: SOAS, pp 5-28.

Hobart, Mark (1975) 'Orators and patrons: two types of political leader in Balinese village society'. In: Bloch, Maurice, (ed.), Political Language and Oratory in Traditional Society. London; New York: Academic Press, pp 65-92.

Monographs and Working Papers

Hobart, Mark (2013) The subject of 'the Subject'. . [Unpublished]

Hobart, Mark (2009) The Prince of Nusa's Vow: a Balinese Arja-Prèmbon Play. . [Unpublished]

Hobart, Mark (2007) Here’s looking at you, kid! Rethinking television reception in everyday life in Indonesia. . [Unpublished]

Hobart, Mark (2006) Changing audiences: representing development and religion in Balinese theatre and television. . [Unpublished]

Hobart, Mark (1995) Consuming passions? Over-interpreting television-viewing in Bali. . [Unpublished]

Hobart, Mark (1995) Consuming passions? Over-interpreting television-viewing in Bali. . [Unpublished]

Hobart, Mark (1992) Beyond reason: a human comedy. Nijmegen: Instituut voor Culturele en Sociale Antropologie.

Hobart, Mark (1991) The windmills of criticism: on understanding theatre in Bali. . [Unpublished]

Hobart, Mark (1982) Is interpretation incompatible with knowledge? The problem of whether the Javanese shadow play has meaning. University of Bielefeld.


This list was last generated on Tuesday, 16th August 2022, 20:11 Europe/London.