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

ANTHONY MILNER was Dean of Asian Studies at the Australian National University (1996-2005) and before that Director of the Australia Asia Perceptions Project of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

Penerbit UKM (First Published, 2011)
32 pages including References


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Malaysia’s Dominant Societal Paradigm: Invented, Embedded, Contested delivered as a lecture by Anthony Milner for Pok Rafeah Chair Public Lecture, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in 2011. 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 facts. The structure and the dominance of this paradigm are 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.


1. The ‘History of Ideas’
2. Pre-colonial Design
3. ‘Race’
4. ‘Race’ and Other Societal Paradigms
5. The ‘Plural Society’ Paradigm
6. Research Required: ‘Excess’
7. Concluding Comments: A Heritage of Ideas for Malaysia Today


Weight0.067 kg
Dimensions22.8 × 15.2 × 0.2 cm





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