LIVING ON THE PERIPHERY: Development and Islamization Among the Orang Asli in Malaysia

Published: 01 March 2009

Nobuta Toshihiro

Published by COAC in March 2009
ISBN 978-983-43248-4-1

28 figures, 23 tables, 94 plates
370 + xxx pages, 6in x 9in, softcover


What set out as a study on the survival strategies of the Orang Asli in the wake of state-led development found the author being confronted by another element--Islamization--influencing both their social relations and their access to development.

The book gives an exceptional peak into the contemporary social and economic situation of the Orang Asli in their village setting, providing insight not only into the familiar dichotomy of haves and have-nots, but also into the villagers' close relations with both Chinese and Malays, including intermarriage, over many generations.

Living on the Periphery exposes the attitudes of the non-Orang Asli, their different world views, and especially their control of local resources. Even for people familiar with Malaysia, Nobuta's ethnographic account puts a spotlight on the jarring inequalities experienced by Orang Asli that otherwise are so easily overlooked.

"Living on the Periphery shows that there is no shortage of problems arising from development projects and Islamization in the history of the small indigenous Temuan community studied....The book is exceptional in that it provides by far the most detailed description to date of development and Islamic pressure on the Orang Asli." A. Baer, Asian Anthropology (Vol.7) 2008.

Forest, Development and Islamization
Orang Asli history and policy
Village history
Social relationship
Economic relationship
Developing the forest
The taboo of incest
Politics of incorrect marriages
Conversion and resistance
Islamic mission

Nobuta Toshihiro is an Associate Professor at the Center for Research Development, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan

This is a revised and improved edition of the book originally published in 2008 by Kyoto University Press and Trans Pacific Press as Volume 14 of the Kyoto Area Studies on Asia series of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University under the title Living on the Periphery: Development and Islamization among the Orang Asli.