Accepted Paper:

Translocal identities in the Indonesian Malay world  

Author:

Wendy Mee (La Trobe University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the interrelations between self-understandings of ‘Malayness’ amongst Malays in West Kalimantan and other forms of identification. Understandings of Malayness have always been translocal in nature, drawing on regional and Islamic themes. To what extent have national relations shaped and delimited this translocalism?

Paper long abstract:

This paper discusses the interrelations between local self-understandings of 'Malayness' amongst Malays in West Kalimantan and local, national and transnational identities. Understandings of Malayness have always been strongly translocal in nature, drawing on regional and Islamic themes. The paper asks to what extent national and intra-national relations have shaped and limited this translocalism. This paper draws on my ongoing research into the social, political and economic conditions which make translocal identity construction possible and its implications for inter-cultural and inter-religious interaction, association and conflict in what we call the modern 'Malay World'. Recent years have seen a tremendous growth of interest in the formation of global cultural and religious loyalties, in part because such loyalties have been seen to pose a threat to the integrity of nation states, and in part because at least in some instances such 'translocalism' is seen as a possible 'cosmopolitan' corrective to xenophobia and ethnic chauvinism. Here there is some evidence to suggest that translocal Malay identity processes in the region have been consistent with positive forms of intercultural association, such as civility and tolerance. The paper outlines a number of spheres, such as religious associations and civil society organisations in order to explore the mechanisms of translocal relationships and their interaction with national and intra-national political, social and economic relations.

Panel W062
Challenges of local and regional cultural politics in Southeast Asia