Themes of recognition and reification in K. S. Maniam's novels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In the novels of the Malaysian Indian K. S. Maniam, the contestation of recognition and reification forms the central tension in the protagonists' identity development as members of a minority community in the multi-ethnic landscape of Malaya/Malaysia. Each central character's conflict lies in his/her ability/disability to balance accepting ethno-cultural recognition on the one hand and contesting the reification that the Indian ethnic group subjects him/her to on the other (subsequently championing what Michael Sandel coins an unencumbered sense of self - a self that is free and independent from the sanctions of custom and tradition). This paper discusses Maniam's three novels, The return, In a far country and Between lives, to ascertain the extent to which recognition and reification are important themes in the award-winning novelist's corpus. Using the conceptualisation of recognition, reification and the unencumbered self, the paper investigates how Maniam's three Indian Malaysian protagonists, Ravi, Rajan and Sumitra, like most members of minority communities who are faced with the challenges of a multi-ethnic social landscape, challenge the ethno-cultural imposition that their own ethnic community subjects them to while realising the significance of culture towards a healthy sense of selves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-45
Number of pages15
JournalKajian Malaysia
Volume29
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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reification
minority
community
sanction
Malaysia
ethnic group
disability
Novel
Reification
ability
Protagonist
Minorities
Multiethnic

Keywords

  • K. S. Maniam
  • Malaysia
  • Recognition
  • Reification
  • Unencumbered self

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Themes of recognition and reification in K. S. Maniam's novels. / Mohd Mydin, Raihanah; Hashim, Ruzy Suliza; Md. Yusof, Noraini.

In: Kajian Malaysia, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2011, p. 31-45.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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