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Between frontiers : Nation and Identity in a Southeast Asian Borderland : [book review] Horstmann, Alexander Jan 10, 2012

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Pacific Affairs: Volume 84, No. 4 – December 2011 812 on global divergences of sex/gender systems that are linked to, yet exceed, Western LGBT and queer identities, practices and institutions. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA MARTIN F. MANALANSAN IV BETWEEN FRONTIERS: Nation and Identity in a Southeast Asian Borderland. Research in International Studies. Southeast Asia Series, no. 122. By Noburo Ishikawa. Athens: Ohio University Press; Singapore: NUS Press, 2010. xvi, 268 pp. (Tables, figures, maps, B&W Photos.) US$28.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-89680-273-5. This is a book about the transformation of a border locality between two nation-states located in insular Southeast Asia. Undertaking a deep ethnography of a border community where the boundary of the village coincides with the national boundary between Malaysia and Indonesia on the island of Borneo, Ishikawa is concerned with the question of how people of a border community strategically situate themselves as citizens of a nation and how the state subjectifies and disciplines its citizens while integrating the locality both into the orbits of national control and the larger capitalist economy. Doing so, Ishikawa has both completed long-term ethnographic fieldwork in the community as well as archival research on the colonial transformation and valorization of a national periphery. Arguing on different levels, micro- and macro-history, the author succeeds nicely in bringing a structural analysis of capitalism and the state into a reading of history and ethnography. The monograph thus achieves in giving a comprehensive picture of the integration of a community into the nation and the global economy. Ishikawa is not interested in sweeping generalizations, but in a deep ethnography of the people in a concrete physical space, their oral histories, and above all, in the transformation of their lives. It is fascinating to observe how their lives have been changed while they became both subjects of colonial and post-colonial capitalist aspirations and political claims of the emerging nation-states. The differential inclusion and development of the communities on both sides of the border results in labour migration from Indonesia to Malaysia, facilitates smuggling and trading across the border and results in an increasing entrenchment of social inequality and growing stratification into the everyday life of the border community. Hence, the work is divided into two parts. In the first part, the author describes how state and markets expand and appropriate the physical space and natural resources of Borneo and how colonial and post-colonial policies result in inscribing a national boundary between Sawarak and Kalimantan. In the second part, Ishikawa is interested in what he calls the location and positioning of villagers into the emerging nation-states. The reviewer especially appreciates the second part 813 Book Reviews for the ethnography of the making and unmaking of a border community from the pioneer settlers until contemporary times. This book thus does a wonderful job in depicting the subjectification and disciplination of people into citizens without losing the focus on the concrete experiences, agency and practices of the villagers. In writing a case study of a community divided by a border, Ishikawa notes that there are myriad cases that could be fruitfully compared with his community study. Yet the author does not seem to be interested in the growing field of borderland studies and does little to point out the value that his study contributes to the study of borderlands elsewhere. While it is not possible to cite anybody working on borders, the reviewer feels that more could have been done to integrate salient work on borderlands in anthropology and geography in order to direct the rich material that the author collected and to put it more firmly into a comparative perspective. Further, the author could have done more to use the work of, for example, Heyman and Kearney to theorize his material for an innovative perspective on borderlands. We need to theorize borderland studies beyond a mere referral to the location and cultural work of the villagers. While the author collected sufficient material to demonstrate his case, he largely leaves out this opportunity to make a theoretical contribution to the study of borderlands. Despite this small deficit, this book can be widely recommended not only for readers interested in Southeast Asian Studies, but also in border studies and for readers interested in the transformation of community and nation in the capitalist periphery more generally. Max Planck Institute, Göttingen, Germany ALEXANDER HORSTMANN ASEAN’S MYANMAR CRISIS: Challenges to the Pursuit of a Security Community. By Christopher Roberts. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2010. xxii, 268 pp. (Tables, figures, B&W photos.) US$49.90, paper. ISBN 978-981-4279-37-6. In this welcome addition to the literature on ASEAN’s relations with Myanmar, Christopher Roberts discusses in considerable detail the challenges that he argues Myanmar poses for the establishment of a security community in Southeast Asia. According to Roberts, these challenges, which are primarily linked to the longstanding political conflict and instability in Myanmar, undermine the association’s security environment and impede the formation of an ASEAN-wide collective identity. Roberts devotes two chapters to the security community concept and his framework for analysis. Taking issue with the existing literature, he defines security community as a “transnational community of two or more states whose sovereignty is increasingly amalgamated and whose people maintain


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