Nation and Identity in a Southeast Asian Borderland
by Noboru Ishikawa
275 pp., illustrated
NIAS Monographs # 116
Available from NIAS Press in Europe
‘Nationalism’ is a contentious and often unanalyzed abstraction, generally treated as something ‘imagined’ or otherwise located on maps, in flags and other symbols, and in collective memory. Between Frontiers restores the nation to the social field from which it has been abstracted by looking at how the concept shapes the existence of people in border zones, where they live between nations.
Noboru Ishikawa grounds his study in the boundary that separates Malaysian from Indonesian territory in western Borneo. His book explores how states materialize their territoriality and how people strategically situate themselves as members of a local community, nation and ethnic group within that territory. Scholars across the humanities and social sciences will learn much from this masterful linking of history and ethnography, and of macro and micro perspectives.
Part I From Sultanate Frontier to National Periphery
The Geo-body in Transition
Inscribing a Boundary at the Imperial Margin
Contraband and Konfrontasi
Part II Inscribing a Village and a Nation on the Border
On the Periphery of the State
The Genesis of Ethnic Displacement
A Village in the Nation and the Nation in a Village
Osmotic Pressure of the Nation-State
Appendix: Agriculture in Telok Melano
Noburu Ishikawa is an Associate Professor at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University. As a social anthropologist, he has maintained a strong interest in political economy and relationships between humans and the environment in insular Southeast Asia, thus exploring social forces shaping the region through the articulation of history and ethnography both from macro and micro perspectives. His analysis of these forces in both their local and global contexts and in how they interact was important in his earlier study of globalization in Asia and Africa and flows through to this study.
Dr Ishikawa’s research interests and publications have largely focused on nation and identity, transnationalism (especially in the borderlands of western Borneo), the social history of a riverine society in northern Sarawak, the political economy of the Malay world, commodity chains connecting Southeast Asia and Japan, and the socio-cultural construction of “nature” in the industrialized environment of Southeast Asia.
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