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Accepted Paper:

Do not pluck that flower: The forest and cultural identity for the hunter-gatherer tribe (Temiars) of Malaysia  
Rachel Ting (Monash University Malaysia) Louise Sundararajan Justine Thong (Monash University Malaysia)

Paper short abstract:

Swept by the irreversible tide of modernity, how can the indigenous populations keep their rightful place in the society of humanity? In this paper we explore this question by investigating the impact of religious conversion of a hunter-gatherer tribe (Temiar) in Malaysia.

Paper long abstract:

This paper investigates the impact of religious conversion on three groups of the Temiar - traditional, Christian, and Muslim-- in Malaysia. Our analysis shows that while the three religious groups of Temiar are distinctly different in cognitive styles and cultural/religious identities, they share the same fate. Religious conversion offers the hunter gatherer tribes a path to the larger society, but these Indigenous populations are doomed to be marginalized, whether or not they cross, through religious conversion, the epistemic divide between their traditional rationality and that of modernity. For the traditional Temiar, their failure to cross the epistemic divide to the modern sector of society contributed to their social rejection and land-right exploitations. Temiar Christians did cross the epistemic gap, as evidenced by their abstract-conceptual cognitive style characteristic of Christianity and the modern world. But this led to rejection from within their Indigenous community. The Temiar Muslims were more assimilated into the larger Malay society, but that did not deliver them from the fate they shared with the other Temiar groups, whose rivers are polluted by the international logging companies, whose crops are being ravaged by the hungry elephants as a result of deforestation, and whose children have little access to school at a distance due to poor road conditions. The case of the Temiars reveals an irony in the religious conversion of the marginalized populations, namely that it is easier for them to cross the epistemic divide than the social-economic gap of the mainstream society.

Panel P06b
AI-assisted technology and the market: critical impacts on human societies
  Session 1 Thursday 9 June, 2022, -