Archives par mot-clé : Ethnicité

Goods and ethnicity : Trade and Bazaars from a Gift Perspective

Heidelberg Ethnology : Occasional Paper N° 6 (2017) : Goods and Ethnicity : Trade and Bazaars from a Gift Perspective; A Discusssion

Guido Sprenger, with commentaries from Chris Gregory, Kostas Retsikas & Hans Peter Hahn

Drawing on ethnographic observations in Lao markets and bazaars, this article proposes a new and experimental framework for the analysis of multi-ethnic trading. It explores bazaars and trade as sites of the (re-)production of ethnicity through the perspective of gift exchange theory. On markets, transcultural differences can be identified and stabilized through the exchange of goods and money. This draws attention to the role of trade items as foci – and perhaps even as non-human agents – in the emergence of ethnicity and other forms of local identity. The value of items’ specific origins is thus linked to social structure. This helps us to see how the shaping of group identity can be better understood by considering how the goods they bring to market carry with them some features of the gift.

Occasional Paper N° 5 (2017) : Studying Sites of Buddhist Leisure : A Discussion of Justin Thomas McDaniel’s Architects of Buddhist Leisure

Thomas N. Patton, David Morgan, Anne Hansen, Thomas Borchert, Richard Fox & Justin Thomas McDaniel

Occasional Paper N° 4 (2016) : The Other Side of the Gift: Soliciting in Java – A Discussion

Konstantinos Retsikas, with commentaries from Carla Jones, Daromir Rudnyckyj and Guido Sprenger

Occasional Paper N° 3 (2015) : Islam and the Perception of Islam in Contemporary Indonesia

Vincent Houben

Occasional Paper N° 2 (2015) : Optical Allusions: Looking at Looking, in Balinese and Dutch Encounters

Margaret Wiener

Occasional Paper N° 1 (2015) : Beyond the Whorfs of Dover: A Study of Balinese Interpretive Practices

Mark Hobart

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Rohingya identity and the limits to history

Rohingya identity and the limits to history by Jonathan Saha, 17/09/2017, New Mandala

Public discussions around Rohingya people currently fleeing violence in Rakhine state, Myanmar, have often involved arguments about history. While critical historical analysis is useful in offering insights into conflicts, History—if treated as a single, knowable past—is not. This is especially true when dealing with ethnicity. Whatever the past was, no amount of historical research can justify the current violence against Rohingya people.

The debate around Rohingya ethnicity lacks awareness of wider historiography (the history of historical research). On the one side, those denying that this is ethnic cleansing argue that there is no such thing as a Rohingya ethnic group. It is claimed that these people are actually Bengali Muslim migrants. The writings of historians such as Jacques Lieder have been used, by some, to support this position. He argues that the use of the term Rohingya to connote this Muslim population, although noted by eighteenth-century European travelers, is a modern one. For him, Rohingya is primarily a political identity. On the other side, Rohingya activists have resisted this characterisation. They have countered that there is evidence of Muslims living in the Rakhine region for centuries, and that these groups have periodically been called Rohingya.

Writing in The Diplomat last year, one commentator attempted to disentangle these debates by arguing that “the Rohingya are not an ethnic, but rather a political construction. [emphasis in original]”. This is wrong. Not only wrong in the sense of it being inaccurate, but wrong in two other ways: 1) in that it relies on a false division between the categories “political” and “ethnic”, and then treats the two as if they are mutually exclusive; and 2) in that it assumes that we can definitively know people’s ethnic identification in the past.

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