These boundaries have become increasingly salient in recent decades due in no small measure to the New Economic Policy NEP , implemented in , which was geared toward helping Malays “catch up” economically with Chinese and Indians, and which thus placed tremendous emphasis on “race”—being a Malay or a non-Malay—as a criterion figuring into the allocation of scarce and highly prized government resources scholarships and loans, contractors’ licenses, business permits, openings for students and faculty in universities, etc. Acknowledgments Abbreviations Illustrations and charts A note on transliteration Introduction Chapter 1: To this end I met with local government figures and others, including a leathery, bent old man by the name of Haji Ibrahim, who, upon meeting me for the first time and finding out that I intended to conduct research on local tradition adat , offered to come to the government rest house where I was staying and to share with me his copy of the Hikayat Jelebu Tale of Jelebu. It was clear from her comments that she, too, disapproved of our plan to live in his house, if only because it meant that we wouldn’t be living next door to her, as would have been the case if we had stayed in Kak Jamilah’s sister’s house. With a few exceptions members of Mak Su’s household , Ellen’s presence in the village was greeted with considerable enthusiasm even though she spoke no Malay at the outset and had to devote much of her first few. These practical views serve, in turn, to counter and moderate the official view of males, just as they effectively elevate practical views of females. The Malays of Negeri Sembilan are often treated as a special “matrilineal” case that cannot be accommodated by general statements or models that are meant to apply to the “bilateral” Malays living in other parts of the Peninsula.

Within a week of my arrival in the village I realized that I was both welcome and expected to join the headman and his wife for lunch and dinner, and that they had in fact adopted me. The study, which extended over a period of nine months, was carried out mostly in the Rembau district of Negeri Sembilan, though I also spent some of my time in the neighboring, predominantly urban, district of Seremban to acquire a broader perspective. And third, to specify the political and other implications of these variegated representations of gender as they are realized in different social and cultural contexts. A more narrowly focused research instrument was the questionnaire on gender that I administered to twenty individuals ten male, ten female in February and March of , the main purpose of which was to help me assess the degree of convergence in male and female views and understandings of gender. The movement’s organizations are highly diverse and their objectives are in certain respects mutually incompatible, but they all share an overriding concern to revitalize or “reactualize” local Islam and the local Muslim community by encouraging greater awareness of and stronger commitment to the teachings of the Koran and the Hadith, and in these and other ways effecting a more Islamic way of life din. In the course of preparing both the book and the latter articles in particular, I realized the value of broadening my perspectives by conducting additional research on topics that I had initially, and, in retrospect, mistakenly, viewed as more or less separate and distinct from the domains of kinship and social structure. I didn’t know what to make of his questions and warnings, though they were rather disturbing.

My adoption by the village headman and his wife proved advantageous in ways I had not anticipated. The final months of fieldwork February-May were devoted primarily to gathering, through open-ended taped interviews, additional information on the substance and local conceptualization of kinship bonds and other social ties.


My first lesson in Malay kinship and social relations began even before I settled in Bogang in Decemberlargely as a result of my search for someone in the village to hire to cook one or two meals a day and do laundry. At the same time, the parish headman and others observed that Bogang undoubtedly had many households composed of married couples whose children had left home, some of whom would surely welcome me at their afternoon and evening meals.

This is followed by a discussion of the contrasting indeed, contradictory representations of marriage and affinal exchange entailed in wedding and funerary ful. She was probably envious or jealous maanusia her sisters because I spent far more of my time at their houses than at her house.

In mid-May Ellen and I completed our fieldwork, left Bogang, and went to Kuala Lumpur to spend four weeks analyzing early British administration reports on Negeri Sembilan and other historical documents deposited at the Malaysian National Archives Arkib Negara Malaysia.

The latter form of adat and the Malays who define themselves in relation to it are also assumed to be of Sumatran perhaps even Minangkabau origins, and to have evolved from the same ancestral culture as the Malays of Negeri Sembilan; it is also generally agreed that their forebears established permanent settlements in various areas of the Peninsula long before the ancestors of the Malays of Negeri Sembilan began their emigration from Minangka bau areas of Sumatra.

In sum, I contend that Negeri Sembilan masculinity is best understood if it is “deconstructed” [5] and analyzed in terms of its constituent elements and their interrelations the same applies to femininity ; and that the deconstruction of Negeri Sembilan masculinity calls for a jettisoning of the “arelational” notion of masculinity enshrined in the comparative and theoretical literature on gender.

They are also viewed as responsible for having facilitated upper-class corruption and engendering both deracination and moral and. Over the next few years I completed a book and a number of articles on kinship, property, and social harumau in Negeri Sembilan, with special reference to the district of Rembau. Some of the difficulties were related to the fact that during the second period unlike the first we had a young child with us, and, as such, had to contend with a host of problems associated with logistics, diet, heat, poisonous insects and snakes, and so on, many of which were basically nonissues during the first research.

They are Muslims, yet they have matrilineal clans, tull both houses manisia land tend to be owned and inherited by women.

Gender Relations in an Indonesian Society

In this and subsequent chapters I draw both on my earlier work Peletz a, b, b and on my most recent —88 field research to explain how structural transformations and reproduction in the social organization of production, exchange, and prestige have brought about changes in understandings and attitudes bearing on hetero sexual impropriety, but have yet to effect a significant reassessment of traditionally accommodating views on pondan or gender crossers the majority of whom are men —even though there are strong signals of such in the air.

The latter house was especially unappealing, not only because it needed so much cleaning and renovation, but also because of the dozen or so bats that had made it their home and seemed less than enthusiastic about giving it up for us. Ortner and Whitehead a: Later in the day, as we headed out of the village and back to Seremban, we encountered Haji Baharuddin, whose wife had died a few months earlier.

Thanks to the transportation, advice, and other kind assistance of the local parish headman penghulu mukimwho had many relatives and contacts in the community, I was able to locate such a house in Bogang.


Though she mannusia write up some of this material in manusua future, she has generously allowed me to make full use of it in the present book. He is a dukunafter all, and if he.

Inhowever, many village girls in Bogang and other areas of Rembau were sporting the attire of the Islamic resurgents, and the uniforms of even the youngest schoolgirls were far more modest as well. Hari,au explained that Pakcik Abu’s reluctance to talk to me might well have nothing to do with me, or with anything I had or had not done.

The second section of the chapter pursues these issues in the course of a gendered discussion that focuses on conception, pregnancy, and childbirth. In the day or so preceding our departure, many of our closest friends shared with us their most cherished secrets and their deepest hostilities.

This cultural assertiveness is quite pronounced as regards Islam, which—along with speaking the Malay language and observing Malay “custom” adat —is a defining feature, and increasingly the key symbol, of Malayness. After preparing a number of research proposals that I submitted in some cases successfully, in others not to the National Science 7576, the National Institute of Mental Health, and other granting agencies, I applied to the Malaysian government for a research visa and made other preparations for going to the field.

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I had not originally intended to study such issues, but my adoption afforded me a valuable opportunity to do so, and, in the process, to get a sense of Malay views of the seamier side s of human nature.

So that option was out. From the outset we were asked how long we were going to stay, to which I replied that much depended on housing. More generally, I was often quite ambivalent about steering conversations along paths that fit my agenda sparticu. This, in any case, is the official line. The second period of fieldwork was also more challenging and difficult because of changes that had occurred in the s in the field of anthropology and in the human sciences generally—changes which made me more self-conscious and ambivalent about my role as anthropologist, and which also resulted both in shifts in the nature of my research interests and in the investigation of somewhat more vexing issues.

My analysis of constructions of gender in Negeri Sembilan has broad significance despite the unique features of the Negeri Sembilan case. Drawing on a wide range of texts, Vladimir Braginsky uncovers manifold metamorphoses and diverse forms of localisation of this Turkic-Turkish theme.

The larger issues here include the gendered dimensions of ilmuthe relationship in local culture between knowledge and power, and how knowledge and power figure into accounts of personal misfortune. I subsequently designed a program of research concerning legal procedures in Negeri Sembilan, especially the handling of disputes within the Islamic legal system. During the initial four months of fieldwork, I devoted most of my time to participant observation and to building rapport with my neighbors.

One such context-specific construction promotes an “official” and “more Islamic” view of men and women which is “explicitly codified in Much of the literature was also ahistorical, and characterized by a dearth of reliable information on how the precolonial systems of property relations land tenure, inheritance, etc.

Which of the two adats is older is unknown. Overall, the second period of fieldwork was far more trying than the first, which was the most enjoyable period in our lives.