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Core and Margin : Shaping the Indigenousness of Sabah , Malaysia

Articles
Bernard NG Jia Han (Taiwan University)
Year: 
2020
Volume: 
18
Number: 
2
Page: 
97-139
Abstract: 

This article investigates the process of shaping the indigenousness of the Sabah state in Malaysia through pre-colonial, colonial, and nation-state periods. The concept of indigenousness originates from colonial knowledge but is based on the "unkinded" cultural identity since the pre-colonial era. The British colonists brought in the " kinded" cultural identity that emphasizes ancestry and lineage, which established the hybrid cultural identity of "unkinded" and "kinded". Before World War II, the concept of "Sabah Native" was closely related to nationality. Therefore, the indigenousness of Sabah was unique and had excluded Sarawak Native and Malays of the Peninsula. After the formation of Malaysia, the indigenousness was affected by two national agendas: Malayisation and Islamisation. Localism and pluralism thus emerged, and the recent "Sabahan" identity led to less emphasis on indigenousness. The localists weakened their indigenousness in response to the authority from the core area. In short, the interaction between the core area and the margin is the main axis that shapes Sabah's indigenousness throughout history.

Journal of History and Anthropology