State-led Modernization and the New Middle Class in Malaysia by A. Embong

By A. Embong

Wealthy intimately and lucidly written, this is often the 1st definitive research of the recent heart classification in Malaysia. Abdul Rahman Embong examines the emergence and position of the recent Malay heart type, fairly with reference to democratization and evolution of civil society in Malaysia. in addition to exploring adaptations in the classification around the nation, the writer additionally attracts comparisons with the Malay operating type, and the center periods of China, India and in other places in East Asia.

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Extra resources for State-led Modernization and the New Middle Class in Malaysia (International Political Economy Series)

Sample text

Most of these studies made only passing references to the middle class. The proliferation of studies on some of these themes – particularly of peasants, factory women, ethnicity and Islam – led some scholars to label it as ‘an outpouring’, suggesting that these studies ‘in their distribution (are) far from fully representative of current trends in the Malay community’ (Kahn 1996b: 49). However, the claim that ‘the growth of the middle class is ... largely ignored’, that ‘there has been remarkably little interest among social scientists in the phenomenon’, so much so that there has existed a ‘yawning gap’ (Kahn 1996b: 49, 67), and that the advertising industry had discovered the middle class before the academics (Kahn 1996a), has to be examined critically against the available evidence.

Such a comparison allows us to see the internal differentiation within the new Malaysian middle class of various ethnic groups, and to assess the extent to which it has developed similar or dissimilar characteristics independent of ethnicity. However, the social transformation over the last three decades has also brought about social inequalities within Malay society, expressed in the form of class inequalities with the emergence of the Malay capitalist, middle and working classes. In this study, comparison is also made between the new Malay middle class and the working class, but because of data limitations, this is part of the study is confined to the Klang Valley.

More specifically, it explores the interconnections between positions defined by employment relations in labour markets and production units in different sectors of national economies; the processes through which individuals and families are distributed and redistributed among these positions over time; and the consequences thereof for their life-chances and for the social identities that they adopt and the social values and interests that they pursue. Marshall argues further that looking at class analysis in this way involves a commitment not to any particular class theory, but to a research programme within which different, and even rival theories may be formulated and assessed in terms of their heuristic and explanatory performance.

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