Ethno-religious Identity and Border Crossing in the Malay World

By Rosila Bee Mohd Hussain.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

A border is a line supporting the origin or development of a state, however, borders may not support the concept of identity. This paper will examine the fundamental concept of ethno-religious identity and the idea of border crossing among Malay postgraduate students in Western Australia. There has been much research on border crossing in the Malaysian context, but little research appears to have been conducted outside Malaysia. I attempt to determine the extent to which an individual student’s idea of border crossing will lead to a willingness to make adjustments in their ethnic or religious identity. I propose that the willingness of the students to negotiate their other forms of identity upon border crossing is founded on their religious identity. I will also highlight the significance of uniting the religious elements with their identity adjustment. It is anticipated that religion, not border crossing, is the underlying idea that is important for trussing the Malay identity. The idea of border crossing is considered to be symbolic. It will not be a viable means of binding one’s ethnic and religious identity in the foreseeable future.

Keywords: Social Anthropology, Ethno-Religious Identity, Ethnicity, Border Crossing, Malays, Culture and Society

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp.41-52. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 784.987KB).

Rosila Bee Mohd Hussain

PhD Candidate, Lecturer, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University of Malaya / The University of Western Australia, Manning, Western Australia, Australia

The researcher is a lecturer in University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur and has been teaching Anthropology and Sociology for a few years including in Taylor’s College, University of Tunku Abdul Rahman, and University of Malaya, Malaysia. She holds a Bachelor Degree (Hons), and Masters in Anthropology and Sociology from University of Malaya. Currently, she is working on her PhD research theses on Malay ethnic identity in Department of Anthropology and Sociology, The University of Western Australia. Her research interests include ethnic identity, ethnic relation, culture and society. She plans to conduct more research on respective areas in near future including conducting cross-cultural studies with other ethnic groups.


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