The anthropology of the Malay peasantry: Critical reflections on colonial and indigenous scholarship

Ibrahim, Z. (2010) The anthropology of the Malay peasantry: Critical reflections on colonial and indigenous scholarship. Asian Journal of Social Science, 38 (1). pp. 5-36. ISSN 1568-4849

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Abstract

There has been a continuous anthropological interest in the Malay peasantry for the past 70 years. This has resulted in a rich theoretical and empirical literature. This article offers a critical genealogical account of knowledge production spanning sonic four generations of anthropologists. The first two generations were dominated by Western anthropologists - notably Raymond Firth and Michael Swift - working in the context of late colonialism. The latter two generations were represented by indigenous scholars who consciously dealt with the intellectual legacies of the past while, at the same time, opening up new research vistas. Using a close reading of some of the key anthropological tests produced on the Malay peasantry, as well as an analysis of the institutionalisation of professional anthropology in Malaysia, the article discusses the tensions of inter-generational continuities and ruptures. While acknowledging the enormous debt that many indigenous scholars clearly owed to their Western mentors it is argued that there emerged a qualitative break with the past during the late 1970s and 1980s. This saw indigenous anthropologists grappling with post-peasantry studies mid opening up new fields of inquiry to do with larger issues of agrarian change, capitalist modernity ideational formation and contemporary politics.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anthropology; peasantry; genealogy; knowledge production; Malaysia
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Depositing User: MR Faizal II H
Date Deposited: 28 Dec 2015 08:30
Last Modified: 28 Dec 2015 08:30
URI: http://eprints.um.edu.my/id/eprint/15335

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