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Local and Global: Social Transformation in Southeast Asia

Essays in Honour of Professor Syed Hussein Alatas

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Edited by Riaz Hassan

Globalization, modernization and colonialism have played a pivotal role in the social transformation of Southeast Asian societies. The essays in this volume examine three aspects of this transformation: social change and development, the role of intellectuals, religion and cultural values. The volume honours the distinguished Malaysian sociologist Syed Hussein Alatas and his seminal contributions to the sociology of Southeast Asian societies. They have been written by his present and former colleagues, friends and students. Their contributions, reflect, complement and extend the influence of his ideas on contemporary research and social science scholarship.

Asia in the Making of Christianity

Conversion, Agency, and Indigeneity, 1600s to the Present

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Edited by Richard Fox Young and Jonathan A. Seitz

Drawing on first person accounts, Asia in the Making of Christianity studies conversion in the lives of Christians throughout Asia, past and present. Fifteen contributors treat perennial questions about conversion: continuity and discontinuity, conversion and communal conflict, and the politics of conversion. Some study individuals (An Chunggŭn of Korea, Liang Fa of China, Nehemiah Goreh of India), while others treat ethnolinguistic groups or large-scale movements. Converts sometimes appear as proto-nationalists, while others are suspected of cultural treason. Some transition effortlessly from leadership in one religious community into Christian ministry, while others re-convert to new forms of Christianity. The accounts collected here underscore the complexity of conversion, balancing individual agency with broader social trends and combining micro- with macrocontextual approaches.

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Razia Akter

This study, done within the comprehensive Weberian framework, focuses on religion and social change in Bangladesh through an imaginative use of qualitative as well as quantitative methods of modern social research.
It first provides a sociological interpretation of the origin and development of Islam in Bengal using historical and literary works on Bengal. The main contribution is based on two sample surveys conducted by Mrs. Banu in 20 villages of Bangladesh and in three areas in the metropolitan Dhaka city. Using these survey data, she gives a sociological analysis of Islamic religious beliefs and practices in contemporary Bangladesh, and more importantly, she studies the impact of the Islamic religious beliefs on the socio- economic development and political culture in present-day Bangladesh. She also shows how Islam compares with modern education in social 'transforming capacity'.
This careful and rigorous work is a notable contribution to sociology of religion and helps to deepen our understanding of the interactions between religious and social changes common to many parts of the Third World.

Beyond Caste

Identity and Power in South Asia, Past and Present

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Sumit Guha

'Caste' is today almost universally perceived as an ancient and unchanging Hindu institution preserved solely by a deep-seated religious ideology. Yet the word itself is an importation from sixteenth-century Europe. This book tracks the long history of the practices amalgamated under this label and shows their connection to changing patterns of social and political power down to the present. It frames caste as an involuted and complex form of ethnicity and explains why it persisted under non-Hindu rulers and in non-Hindu communities across South Asia.