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Open Access Decolonization and violence in Southeast Asia Crises of identity and authority

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Decolonization and violence in Southeast Asia Crises of identity and authority

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Chapter Summary

This chapter reflects on a number of approaches to explain the persistence of crises and their links to the colonial and decolonizing eras. These include historical and political science modes of analysis. A major part of the challenge of decolonization was precisely that colonial societies had many layers of identity - peasant, class, ethnic, religious, regional - that were not in the first place 'national', and often resisted subjection to the leadership of postcolonial as well as colonial elites. Some regional states never really overcame the legacies of fractured identities, of colonization, and of Japanese occupation, continuing to rely on high levels of coercion to enforce state authority, as in New Order Indonesia and in Burma/Myanmar. One central Southeast Asian problem of decolonization and in reaching a 'postcolonial state' remains that of identity management in nation's states.

Keywords: Burma; decolonization; identity management; New Order Indonesia; Southeast Asian problem; state authority



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