Staging Indigenous Heritage examines the cultural politics of four Indigenous cultural villages in Malaysia. Cai demonstrates how they are often beset with the politics of brokerage and representation that reinforce a culture of dependency on the brokers, marginalising their intended beneficiaries.
By critically examining the relationship between Indigenous tourism and development through the establishment of Indigenous cultural villages, the book addresses the complexities of adopting the ‘culture for development’ paradigm as a developmental strategy. Demonstrating that the opportunities for self-representation and self-determination can become entwined with the politics of brokerage and the contradictory dualism of culture, the book shows how this can both facilitate and compromise their intended outcomes. Challenging the simplistic conceptualisation of Indigenous communities as harmonious and unified wholes, Cai shows how Indigenous cultures are actively forged, struggled over and negotiated in contemporary Malaysia.
Confronting the largely positive rhetoric in current discourses on the benefits of community-based cultural projects, Staging Indigenous Heritage should be essential reading for academics and students in the fields of museum studies, cultural heritage studies, Indigenous studies, development studies, tourism, anthropology and geography. The book should also interest museum and heritage professionals around the world.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Historicising Indigeneity in Malaysia
Chapter 3: Capacity-building as a Contemporary Colonial Civilising Mission
Chapter 4: Indigeneity as an Intractable Double-bind
Chapter 5: Appropriation, Reinvention and Contestation of Indigenous Heritage
Chapter 6: The Big Man as Arbitrator of Heritage
Chapter 7: Conclusion
Yunci Cai is Lecturer in Museum Studies and Co-Director of the MA/MSc in Heritage and Interpretation (distance learning) programme at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom.