Making Majorities: Constituting the Nation in Japan, Korea, China, Malaysia, Fiji, Turkey, and the United States (c)


Dru C. Gladney (ed.)

Contemporary Issues in Asia and the Pacific


Stanford: Stanford University Press

Available From: Stanford University Press
Publication Date: 1998
ISBN: 0-8047-3047-4
Binding: cloth
Pages: xv, 350


This is the third volume in the East-West Center-sponsored series, Contemporary Issues in Asia and the Pacific.

Majorities are made, not born. This book argues that there are no pure majorities in the Asia-Pacific region, broadly defined, nor in the West. Numerically, ethnically, politically, and culturally, societies make and mark their majorities under specific historical, political, and social circumstances. This position challenges Samuel Huntington's influential thesis that civilizations are composed of more or less homogeneous cultures, suggesting instead that culture is as malleable as the politics that informs it.

The fourteen contributors to this volume argue that emphasis on minority/majority rights is based on uncritically accepted ideas of purity, numerical superiority, and social consensus. Emphases upon multiculturalism can become ways of masking serious political, ethnic, and class differences merely in terms of cultural difference, and affirmative-action policies can isolate, identify, and stigmatize minorities as often as they homogenize, unify, and naturalize majorities.

This book analyzes how minorities are made and marked across cultural, regional, and national boundaries from Hawai'i to Turkey, a region that encompasses extraordinarily diverse populations and political developments and that is often regarded as composed of relatively homogeneous majorities. volume details discourses of majority and minority, allowing exploration of a number of questions of more general concern in the humanities and social sciences, including: How does one become officially "ethnic" in many states in Asia? How are understandings of majority and minority cultures created and shaped in specific political and historical contexts? How does the state shape the way people think of themselves? How do people resist, transform, and appropriate these official representations?


Details and ordering information at Stanford University Press

  • Introduction: Making and Marking Majorities
  • Culturalism, Racialism, and Internationalism in the Discourse on Japanese Identity
  • A Conceptual Model for the Historical Relationship Between the Self and the Internal and External Others: The Agrarian Japanese, the Ainu, and the Special-Status People
  • Who Speaks for Korean Shamans When Shamans Speak of the Nation?
  • Constructing and Deconstructing "Koreanness"
  • On Three Definitions of Han Ren: Images of the Majority People in Taiwan
  • Clashed Civilizations? Muslim and Chinese Identities in the PRC
  • Bureaucratic Management of Identity in a Modern State: "Malayness" in Postwar Malaysia
  • Ideological Work in Constructing the Malay Majority
  • Aspiring to Minority and Other Tactics Against Violence
  • When 8,870 - 850 = 1: Discourses Against Democracy in Fiji, Past and Present
  • From Ottoman to Turk: Self-Image and Social Engineering in Turkey
  • Minority/Majority Discourse: The Case of the Kurds in Turkey
  • Studying Mainstreams and Minorities in North America: Some Epistemological and Ethical Dilemmas
  • The Illusion of Paradise: Privileging Multiculturalism in Hawai'i


"Contains a wealth of empirical and historical materials, as well as analytic insights, about the dynamics of ethnicity and cultural identity and their historical evolution in this vast region of the world. . . . It should be valuable to political analysts, cultural theorists, scholars, as well as educated readers who are generally interested in the social and political dynamics of the region."

--Journal of Asian Studies