The Politics of Multiculturalism: Pluralism and Citizenship in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia
336pp. July 2001
The Politics of Multiculturalism: Pluralism and Citizenship in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia
Editor: Hefner, Robert W.;
Few challenges to the modern dream of democratic citizenship appear greater than the presence of severe ethnic, religious, and linguistic divisions in society. With their diverse religions and ethnic communities, the Southeast Asian countries of Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia have grappled with this problem since achieving independence after World War II. Each country has on occasion been torn by violence over the proper terms for accommodating pluralism. Until the Asian economic crisis of 1997, however, these nations also enjoyed one of the most sustained economic expansions the non-Western world has ever seen.

This timely volume brings together fifteen leading specialists of the region to consider the impact of two generations of nation-building and market-making on pluralism and citizenship in these deeply divided Asian societies. Examining the new face of pluralism from the perspective of markets, politics, gender, and religion, the studies show that each country has developed a strikingly different response to the challenges of citizenship and diversity. The contributors, most of whom come Southeast Asia, pay particular attention to the tension between state and societal approaches to citizenship. They suggest that the achievement of an effectively participatory public sphere in these countries will depend not only on the presence of an independent "civil society," but on a synergy of state and society that nurtures a public culture capable of mediating ethnic, religious, and gender divides.

The Politics of Multiculturalism will be of special interest to students of Southeast Asian history and society, anthropologists grappling with questions of citizenship and culture, political scientists studying democracy across cultures, and all readers concerned with the prospects for civility and tolerance in a multicultural world.

"This collection of essays provides insightful shapshots of continuing and uncertain--indeed sometimes countervailing--processes of change: Islamic resurgence, urbanization and the growth of a middle class, electronic information flows, and nationalistic pride..... It is a timely and useful comparison." --Journal of Asian Studies, May 2002

"Valuable for giving a recent picture of Southeast Asia and for showing how pluralism and multiculturalism have taken rather different directions from what is seen in Western advance liberal democracies" --Sojourn 17 (2002)

Editor: Hefner, Robert W.;
Robert W. Hefner is professor of anthropology and director of the Program in Civil Society and Civic Culture at the Institute for the Study of Economic Culture, Boston University.
Read the introduction (PDF).
1 Introduction: Multiculturalism and Citizenship in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia
Robert W. Hefner

2 The Culture and Practice of Pluralism in Postcolonial Malaysia
Abdul Rahman Embong

3 Social Pluralism in Singapore
Chua Beng Huat and Kwok Kian-Woon

4 Social Resources for Civility and Participation: The Case of Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Mohtar Mas‘oed, S. Rizal Panggabean, and Muhammad Najib Azca

5 Boundaries and Beyond: Whither the Cultural Bases of Political Community in Malaysia?
Sumit K. Mandal

6 Corporate Pluralism: Singapore Inc. and the Association of Muslim Professionals
Sharon Siddique

7 Where Has (Ethnic) Politics Gone?: The Case of the Non-Malay Politicians and Political Parties
Francis Loh Kok Wah

8 The Redefinition of Politics and the Transformation of Malaysian Pluralism
Shamsul A.B.

9 What Islam, Whose Islam?: Sisters in Islam and the Struggle for Women’s Rights
Zainah Anwar

10 Gender and Pluralism in Indonesia
Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin

11 Mirroring the Past or Reflecting the Future?: Class and Religious Pluralism in Indonesian Labor
Vedi R. Hadiz

12 Greens in the Rainbow: Ethnoreligious Issues and the Indonesian Armed Forces
Hermawan Sulistiyo