Questioning Modernity in Indonesia and Malaysia

$25.00 SGD $38.00 SGD

Edited by Wendy Mee and Joel S. Khan

Processes of transformation typically defined as "modernising" have been pervasive in Indonesia and Malaysia over an extended period of time and have played a central role in shaping the societies of both countries. Questioning Modernity in Indonesia and Malaysia engages critically with the concept of modernity considering the way it has been used in the analysis of cultural, social, economic and political processes in the two countries. The book argues that while Indonesia and Malaysia can both be considered fully modern, their modernities are not merely derivative of the Western understanding of the word.

Written by scholars from both "inside" and "outside" the region, the case studies presented in this volume highlight the extent to which the intellectual tools, concepts, and theories commonly used in academic research reflect a European/Western modernist imaginary. Starting from the premise that modernity viewed from a local rather than a Western perspective takes on different qualities, the authors show how the process of conducting social research in Asia might be re-conceptualized on the basis of a revised understanding of this crucial idea. Their essays make a compelling case for the need to re-assess the application of a supposedly "Western" concept to the study of Asia.


"...it will make useful reading material for academics who teach theoretical analysis. Students of area studies will also find this volume a good read." - Jennifer Yang Hui


Joel S. KAHN is an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne's Asia Institute, and Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at La Trobe University. He is the author of Other Malays: Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism in the Modern Malay World [NUS/NIAS/Hawaii, 2006) and he is currently carrying out research on new Asian spiritualities.

Wendy MEE is senior lecturer in the School of Social Sciences at La Trobe University, where she teaches in the areas of gender and development, religion and spirituality, and social movements.


Kyoto CSEAS Series on Asian Studies 5
Publication Year: 2012
264 pages, 229mm x 152mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-563-7, Paperback

NUS Press and Kyoto University Press