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Ref ID: 22574
Ref Type: Book Section
Authors: Gomes, Alberto G.
Title: The Semai: the making of an ethnic group in Malaysia
Date: 1988
Source: Ethnic diversity and the control of natural resources in Southeast Asia
Place of Publication: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Publisher: Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan
Abstract: One practical problem anthropologists often face is the identification and classification of the communities they research into ethnic categories or groups. Sometimes empirical evidence makes these categorizations unrealistic. A number of studies have focused on this problem of ethnicity in Southeast Asia (see Babcock 1974
King 1982
Rousseau 1975 for communities in Borneo
Dentan 1968 on Semai
Moerman 1965 on Lue
Hinton 1983 on Karen). On possible explanation for this disparity between ethnic categorization and empirical reality is that ethnic change and ethnogenesis are ongoing processes. New ethnic groups emerge (or the existing ethnic names become meaningful) and some others are accommodated (or incorporated) into larger ethnic groups. In this chapter, I shall examine Semai ethnogenesis, beginning with a discussion of two viewpoints, that is, the outsider (government officials and anthropologists) and the insider (Semai) on Semai ethnicity. This discussion leads to a more thorough examination of the evolution of ethnic consciousness (or the emergence of ethnic "boundary maintenance") among the Semai. I shall explore factors that facilitate the occurrence and continuation of this process.
Date Created: 4/27/2015
Editors: Rambo, A. Terry
Hutterer, Karl L.
Gillogly, Kathleen
Volume: 32
Page Start: 99
Page End: 117
Series Title: Michigan Papers on South and Southeast Asia Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, The University of Michigan