By Andrew C. Willford
Based on approximately 3 years of ethnographic fieldwork within the little-studied Malaysian Tamil group, this booklet captures the demanding situations and dilemmas dealing with an ethnic and spiritual minority within the context of state-driven ethnic and non secular nationalism. A resurgence of Tamil Hindu non secular perform is analyzed inside of modern Malaysia in mild of a state-driven ideology of modernist Islam. Bringing jointly precise and occasionally own ethnographic debts of Tamil private and non-private rituals throughout a huge spectrum of sophistication and standing, the modern dynamics of ethnic politics and family members in Malaysia is known via numerous old and political monetary forces within the postcolonial interval. In doing so, Andrew C. Willford indicates how modern Tamil Hindu subjectivity in Malaysia has a unique ancient trajectory, and argues that the determine of the “Indian” (Tamil) is likely one of the lacking keys in realizing a broader development of ethnic relatives and nationalism during this state. the result's an intimate portrait of the anxieties and wishes of a diasporic community.
"Andrew Willford's Cage of Freedom offers us a provocative examine the compulsive and eruptive dimensions of ethno-religious and ethno-nationalist id within the Tamil enclaves of latest Malaysia. Drawing from psychoanalytic and phenomenological methods, Willford brings us nose to nose with 'the nation’s spirit' and 'the ethnic uncanny,' the stressful dual apparitions that cloak the foundational vacancy of identification. This publication reminds us that ethno-nationalist identification and beliefs have a haunting mental force."
—Kenneth M. George, Editor of Journal of Asian Studies, and Professor and Chair, division of Anthropology, college of Wisconsin-Madison
"Cage of Freedom is an incredibly stable, uncommonly wealthy ethnography of the Tamil group in Malaysia, probably the greatest ever ethnographies of this zone ever written, dependent in thorough box study and obviously expert by way of an attentive ear and an astute observational awareness. We examine a lot in regards to the lives and studies, the hopes and fantasies of person Tamils . . . This booklet is an exemplary act of anthropological integrity; its insistence on interpreting, on interrogating the conclusions and perceptions that local community have approximately themselves is all too infrequent in anthropology at the present time. Willford may possibly educate scholars, once more, that the venture of anthropology is a serious one, a relentlessly wondering one."
—Rosalind C. Morris, Professor of Anthropology and affiliate Director for the guts for Comparative Literature and Society, Columbia University
"An ethnographically wealthy and theoretically refined publication, supplying a posh research of the forces underlying non secular revival one of the Tamil and extra widely 'Indian' inhabitants of Malaysia. Willford specializes in an unstudied challenge: the atypical drawback confronted via diasporic Indians in Southeast Asia. This imaginitive research stands to make a considerable contribution to considering throughout a number scholarly fields."
—Danilyn Rutherford, division of Anthropology, collage of Chicago
Andrew C. Willford is affiliate Professor of Anthropology and Asian reviews at Cornell University.