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A Tale of Two Celebrations: The Pesta Kaamatan as a Site of Struggle between a Minority and the State in Sabah, East Malaysia

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Abstract The paper looks at the Harvest Festival of the Kadazandusun people of Sabah, East Malaysia, as a site of struggle between the ethnic group and the state over the role the culture of this minority should have in the national culture. While the state tries to impose its vision of a hybrid Malaysian nation controlled by the Malay ruling parties, and the ethnic elites to use identity as a political rallying point, Kadazan villagers react by attributing the highest value to ‘lived culture’ and identities affording participation rather than to the objectified culture and reifications over which both elites compete.

Affiliations: 1: Nottingham Trent University, International College UK


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