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E-seminar on media and national belonging in Sabah, East Malaysia

August 6, 2009

The next EASA Media Anthropology Network e-seminar will run from 8 to 22  September 2009. Participants will discuss via a mailing list a working paper by Fausto Barlocco (PhD, Loughborough University) entitled “Media and belonging to the nation in Sabah, East Malaysia”. The discussant will be Arvind Rajagopal (New York University). The seminar is free and open to anyone with a genuine interest in the anthropology of media (more details here). This is the abstract:

Starting from the thesis that Malaysia has successfully been ‘built’ as a nation by the state as well has ‘materialized’ by other means, this paper attempts to define the extent to which the state has become a source of identity for a minority indigenous group, the Kadazandusun of the Bornean State of Sabah. The analysis of various cases showing the reaction of Kadazan villagers to the development propaganda and the discourses present in the media demonstrates that, while Malaysia has indeed materialised among the Kadazandusn through the involvement in the national educational and political system and mediascape, the government propaganda is rejected on the basis of its perceived Malayising agenda, imposing to indigenous peoples to either become like the majority or be marginalised. On the other hand, consumption practices, and the media messages encouraging them, constitute a national community of consumers, but on the other encourage identification with a global consumer culture and of novel practices and subjectivities.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. NUPUR DASGUPTA permalink
    September 8, 2009 3:53 pm

    Good insight. I have been teaching the history of colonial and post colonial Malaysia for the last few years at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, West Bengal, India. Judging by the growing trend of parochialism in political conceptualization of the nation in South and South east Asia, globalization seems only virtual – if any kind of reality at all.
    It is more of a fear psychosis related to economic performance and economic survival than a real spirit of globalization. Why then this cry of “Globalization”? It could very well be an inverted “Race for NeoEconomic Imperialism” joined by the nations. A historical perspective clarifies the realities of the situation in a way nothing else can.

  2. September 8, 2009 3:58 pm

    Thanks Nupur. Feel fee to contribute to the e-seminar by joining the mailing list, see details here:

  3. September 8, 2009 4:01 pm

    PS. The seminar has just started and we’re now waiting for the discussant to post his comments, after which Barlocco will respond to them, and then the floor will be open to all mailing list subscribers.

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