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Title: Powerful landscapes : squatting, space and religiosity in urban Malaysia
Author: Yeoh, S. G.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1997
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Based on archival, library and ethnographic research, this thesis recasts the notion of 'everyday resistance' (as propounded by James Scott) in terms of the landscape and spatiality of an urban Indian squatter settlement in Malaysia. In postcolonial Malaysia, managing different and often competing ethnic and religious identities in a Furnivallian 'plural society' presents administrative problems as well as a resource for political legitimation. Arguably, this is most starkly embodied in 'squatter settlements', often perceived as potential sites of urban discontent and unrest. But squatter settlements also provide significant sources of urban labour as well as important political vote-banks. The first part of the thesis examines historically how categories like 'squatting', 'religion' and 'ethnicity' are rendered discursively meaningful. Attention is then shifted to the 'ethnographic present' of the fieldwork squatter settlement in the suburban township of Petaling Jaya. I examine varied everyday routines, social practices, and the use of space in juxtaposition to wider cultural and urban processes. Tamil and Telegu Indians comprising two distinct religious groups - Hindu devotees of the goddess Mariyamman and the Seventh-Day Adventist Christians - are the main focus of discussion. Descriptions of the celebration of the annual goddess festival (for the former) and the weekly Sabbath Worship services (for the latter) bring out the substantive differences of these two groups in terms of culturally specific spatial idioms, and the theoretical implications they pose for the study of 'everyday resistance'.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available