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Nation and Contestation in Malaysia: Diaspora and Myths of Belonging in the Narratives of K. S. Maniam

Sharmani Patricia Gabriel
Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
Vol. 36, No. 2 (Jun., 2005), pp. 235-248
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20072646
Page Count: 14
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Nation and Contestation in Malaysia: Diaspora and Myths of Belonging in the Narratives of K. S. Maniam
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Abstract

In Malaysia, the influence of the hegemonic or 'authority-defined' discourse on nation appears so pervasive that it obscures the fact that 'national' and 'ethnic' identities are in fact highly contested concepts or categories. There is a need, therefore, to examine alternative constructions of ethnic and national identity where dominant notions are challenged, reconstituted and problematized. In keeping with recent developments in critical and literary theory, this article examines selected works of a leading Malaysian novelist, K. S. Maniam, to argue that it is his commitment to the cultural politics of diaspora that problematizes state constructions of a coherent or homogeneous Malaysian identity.

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