Amy H. Liu and Jacob I. Ricks

Sep 1, 2023

Ethnicity and Politics in Southeast Asia

Cambridge University Press 2022

What explains the varying treatment of ethnic minorities in Southeast Asia? Why have some states in the region been far more successful than others in handling relations with minorities? And why have countries like Thailand had far more challenging experiences with certain ethnic minorities than with others?

In this podcast about Ethnicity and Politics in Southeast Asia (Cambridge UP, 2022), co-author Jacob Ricks is in conversation with Duncan McCargo about the key issues and arguments raised in this short but provocative book.

Amy H. Liu is a professor of government at University of Texas, Austin, while Jacob I. Ricks is associate professor of political science at Singapore Management University. 

Duncan McCargo is a professor in the public policy and global affairs programme at Nanyang Technological University. 

This book conceptually disaggregates ethnicity into multiple constituent markers – specifically language, religion, and phenotype. By focusing on the interaction between these three ethnic markers, Liu and Ricks explore how overlap between these markers can affect whether a minority integrates within a broader ethnic identity; successfully extracts accommodation as unique group; or engages in a contentious and potentially violent relationship with the hegemon. The argument is tested through six case studies: (1) ethnic Lao in Thailand: integration; (2) ethnic Chinese in Thailand: integration; (3) ethnic Chinese in Malaysia: accommodation; (4) ethnic Malays in Singapore: accommodation; (5) ethnic Malays in Thailand: contention; and (6) ethnic Chinese in Indonesia: contention.

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Duncan McCargo

Duncan McCargo is an eclectic, internationalist political scientist, and literature buff: his day job is teaching global affairs at NTU in Singapore.

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