Southeast Asian nations have devised a range of development programs that strive to incorporate mirity ethnic groups into the nation-state. The authors of Civilizing the Margins discuss the programs, policies, and laws that affect ethnic mirities in eight countries: Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam. Once targeted for intervention, people such as the Orang Asli of Malaysia and the hill tribes of Thailand often become the subject of programs aimed at radically changing their lifestyles, which the government views as backward or primitive. Several chapters highlight the tragic consequences of forced resettlement, a common result of these programs. Others question the motives behind pushing mirities into development schemes. Rather than simply describing the effects of the programs and the experiences of participants, the contributors to this book attempt to understand the ideologies and strategies that led to the implementation of these programs.
Christopher R. Duncan is Associate Professor in the School of Historical, Philosophical & Religious Studies and in the School of Politics and Global Studies, Arizona State University. He is the author of Violence and Vengeance and editor of Civilizing the Margins, both from Cornell.