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Cage of Freedom

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Cage of Freedom
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Subtitle: Tamil Identity and the Ethnic Fetish in Malaysia
Author/Editor: Andrew C. Willford
New Pb 346 pp.
Subject: Social Studies,Religion,Malaysia,Ethnic Studies
Condition: Good
Published: 2007

In Cage of Freedom, Andrew Willford uses detailed ethnographic accounts of public and private rituals to examine a resurgence of Hindu religious practice among the Tamil community in Malaysia. Faced with a state-driven ethnic and religious nationalism, the Tamil community in Malaysia employs the idea of a greater “India” to blur ethnic boundaries and an ecumenical and transcendental Hinduism to counter the modernist Islam promoted by the state. The author argues that the logic of nationalism in Malaysia and a legacy of social divisions have caused the Indian community to remain weak and disunited. This intimate portrait of the anxieties and desires of a diasporic community offers powerful insight into ethnic relations and nationalism.

"Cage of Freedom is an exceptionally good, uncommonly rich ethnography of the Tamil community in Malaysia, among the best ever ethnographies of this area ever written, based in thorough field research and clearly informed by an attentive ear and an astute observational consciousness. We learn much about the lives and experiences, the hopes and fantasies of individual Tamils . . . This book is an exemplary act of anthropological integrity; its insistence on reading, on interrogating the conclusions and perceptions that local people have about themselves is all too rare in anthropology today. Willford may perhaps teach students, once again, that the project of anthropology is a critical one, a relentlessly questioning one."

—Rosalind C. Morris, Professor of Anthropology and Associate Director for the Center for Comparative Literature and Society, Columbia University

Andrew C. WILLFORD is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Asian Studies at Cornell University.

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West MalaysiaFirst 0.50 kg8.00
West MalaysiaAdditional 0.25 kg2.00


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