Ethnic Relations and
Maya Khemlani David, James McLellan, Ngeow Yeok Meng, Lean Mei Li and
Wendy Yee Mei Tien (eds) (2010) Ethnic Relations and Nation Building: The Way Forward, Petaling Jaya:
Nation building remains an unfinished political project for most countries in Southeast Asia.
Questions about how best to forge nation states based on heterogeneous groups of citizens remain unresolved and
highly contested. The essays collected in Ethnic Relations and Nation Building offer new analyses of
the difficulties of nation building in ethnically diverse states, with a particular focus on the Malaysian
experience as well as comparative studies drawn from Thailand and Burma (Myanmar). Based on recent empirical
research and using insights from a number of disciplines – sociolinguistics, politics, sociology, media studies
and social psychology – this timely book addresses three highly relevant themes: the struggle to mould a
sustainable national identity in the context of rapid societal change; the particular challenges faced by ethnic
minorities in the face of social exclusion; and the building blocks for national integration, notably among
young people. Ethnic Relations and Nation Building is an important guide to identifying, addressing and
perhaps even finding solutions to these longstanding problems.
Maya Khemlani David, Ngeow Yeok Meng, Lean Mei Li and Wendy Yee Mei
Tien teach at the University of Malaya, and James McLellan teaches at the University
of Waikato, New Zealand.
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