Malaysia's Dominant Societal Paradigm: Invented, Embedded, Contested

Anthony Milner

    Research output: Book/ReportBook


    What K.J.Ratnam once called the 'communal framework'-with its strong racial or ethnic base-has been dominant in virtually every aspect of Malaysian life over many decades. It is not, however, the only paradigm that has been proposed for Malaysia-or Malaya, or the 'Malay World'. Nor is it simply the product of demographic fact. The structure and the dominance of this paradigm is in part a product of ideological engineering. This lecture will reflect on the origins and development of the dominant paradigm-taking note of the way it gained influence, and also the competition it faced. Surveying the history of the Malaysian paradigm can help us not only to appreciate its strength-its capacity to resist transformative change-but also to identify where alternative concepts, discarded in their time, may prove influential in the future. There are good reasons why Malaysia is structured the way it is today-but on close examination neither this nor any other specific national formation can be judged inevitable. The historian who examines the 'history of ideas' in nation making therefore has an opportunity to engage in conversations about the future as well as the past.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationMalaysia
    Number of pages34
    ISBN (Print)9789679429619
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Publication series

    NameThe Pok Rafeah Chair Public Lecture Series


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