With nationalist ideals of cultural citizenship in flux across the region, this panel focuses on the dialectical relationships between the state and marginal groups in Southeast Asian nation-states, across different political regimes, before and after independence.
Postcolonial states in Southeast Asia continue to be sites where nationalist ideals remain in flux. States in the region continue to juggle ideas of national belonging ranging from communalism, both traditional and intentional, to the hyperindividualism of contemporary neoliberalism. Notions underpinning 'cultural citizenship' (Rosaldo 2003) embrace models of modernity, while also privileging particular religious affiliations and expressions as definitive of civic centrality (e.g. Buddhism in Myanmar and Thailand, Islam in Malaysia and Indonesia, Catholicism in the Philippines, etc.). Such ideological mixtures render state-citizen relations unresolved, constantly shifting. This continual shifting poses particular problems for marginal groups, such as Indigenous peoples (e.g. 'adat' communities in Indonesia, 'national ethnic races' in Myanmar, etc.), religious minorities, communitarian movements, and other geographically and economically peripheral groups. While some state policies continue to marginalise such groups, other recent initiatives - policies to 'develop from the margins', recognition of forest rights, and others - have also sought to bring such groups more focally into the state fold. Against these past and contemporary historical backdrops, this panel aims to provoke discussion on the dialectical relationships between the state and the existence of marginal groups in Southeast Asian states, across different political regimes, before and after independence. This panel welcomes papers using a wide variety of conceptualisations of the shifting relations of the state and marginal groups with a view to delineating the importance of the operation of power in effecting and dispersing marginalisation.