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Violent civic nationalism versus civil ethnic nationalism: Contrasting Indonesia and Malay(si)a

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In 1963 the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, and Sabah formed the Federation of Malaysia. In the same year Indonesia gained control over West Papua. In the first case the integration was accomplished participatory and peacefully, in the second violence reigned supreme. I argue that different visions of community, nation and state, developed during the decades of decolonisation and the early years of state- and nation-building, are responsible for the different outcomes. Contrary to the expectations of the predominant theories on nationalism the ethno-cultural variant of nation-building in Malaysia proved to be much more integrative than the civic variant espoused by the Indonesian nation-builders.
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Keywords: Civic Nationalism; Ethnic Violence; Ethnic- nationalism; Indonesia; Malaysia; Nation-building; National Identity; Political Culture; State-building

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-03-01

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