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Journal Article

What Is a Malay? Situational Selection of Ethnic Identity in a Plural Society

Judith A. Nagata
American Ethnologist
Vol. 1, No. 2 (May, 1974), pp. 331-350
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/643553
Page Count: 20
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What Is a Malay? Situational Selection of Ethnic Identity in a Plural Society
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Abstract

Most studies to date of ethnic relations, ethnic boundaries, and criteria used to define ethnic status have been biased toward a particular "assimilationist" model drawn from experience in North America, Australia, etc. These have generally assumed that there is some dominant or ethnically "neutral" area of culture by whose standards all "ethnics" can be judged, and that ethnic identity normally changes in one direction only. This paper examines the case of a plural society in which there is no clear dominant or neutral culture, and in which continuous oscillation of ethnic status occurs without direct assimilation.

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