B OOK R EVIEWS Zawawi Ibrahim (ed.), (1998) Cultural Contestations: Mediating Identities in a Changing Malaysian Society . London: ASEAN Academic Press. 204 pages. ISBN 1–901919–04–8 Cultural Contestations does not provide the reader with a coherent argument regarding the book’s theme of “mediating identities in a changing Malaysian society.” Its ve chapters range widely over contexts and content of iden- tity debates (Shamsul A.B.), Chinese politics (Heng Pek Koon), postcolo- nial middle-class formation (Abdul Rahman Embong), laughter in Malay literature (Hendrik M.J. Maier), and aboriginal subaltern subjectivity (Zawawi Ibrahim). The essays are equally di V use and divergent with regard to the- oretical and methodological perspectives. There seems to be little but the thinnest thread of identity and coincidence of collocation in Malaysia hold- ing these essays together. But that, perhaps, is precisely the point. Like such precursors as Fragmented Visions: Culture and Politics in Contemporary Malaysia ( Joel S. Kahn and Francis Loh Kok Wah, 1992) and Malaysia: Critical Perspectives (Muhammad Ikmal Said and Zahid Emby, 1996), Cultural Contestations displays the great and perhaps irreconcilable diversity of that place known as Malaysia, a diversity for which terms such as “plural soci- ety” or “race relations” seem
Asian Journal of Social Science – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2003
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