Cultural politics have undergone a resurgence in the last decade: nationalisms in Eastern and Central Europe, tribalisms in Africa, racial and ethnic movements in the Americas and Australasia have left the world in the grip of the "politics of recognition". Until this book, however, little attention has been paid to the significance of cultural politics in Southeast Asia, whose people are often assumed to be dedicated to the single goal of economic development. This study of a variety of Southeast Asian countries - including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand - reveals that such issues of culture and identity politics are, in fact, of primary importance to the people of the region and their leaders. Key questions dealt with in this study include: the conflicting interests of "indigenous" peoples and the largest immigrant group in the region (the "overseas Chinese"); the impact of globalization on concepts of national citizenship; the role of both Islam and gender in cultural nationalism; and the significance of the Internet in defining and eroding definitions of national and cultural identity.
Southeast Asian identities - introduction, Joel S. Kahn; racial Singaporeans - absence after the Hyphen, Chua Beng Huat; disciplining difference - "race" in Singapore, Nirmala PuruShotam; ethnic identities and erasure - Chinese Indonesians in public culture, Ariel Heyanto; Globalization and cultural nationalism in modern Thailand, Craig J. reynolds; gender and the globalization of Islamic discourses - a case study, Rachel A.D. Bloul; modern dreams - an enquiry into power, cityscape transformations and cultural difference ion contemporary Malaysia, Goh Beng Lan; returning to the "origin" -church and state in the ethnogenesis of the "To Pamona", Albert Achrauwers; national difference and global citizenship, Wendy Mee.