Comparative Islamic Studies, Vol 7, no 1-2 (2011)

The Cosmopolitan Canopy of East Maritime Southeast Asia: Minority citizenship in the Phil-Indo Archipelago

Bruce B. Lawrence
Issued Date: 20 Sep 2012

Abstract


In this article Lawrence examines the elusive yet decisive role of the public square. He explains that the “public square” is the crucial category for understanding the scale and scope of citizenship. Both Indonesia and the Philippines resemble other contemporary polities in so far as their subjects/citizens project public faith, or religion in the public square. Minorities, like their majority neighbors, are ‘pious patriots,’ but they are patriots first. Lawrence demonstrates that to understand minority citizenship, individual voices from both polities must be analyzed. In doing so, he questions whether they can be simply categorized as full-fledged citizens of nation-states. Key terms that define minority relations are IP (Indigenous People) for the Southern Philippines, and adat (native practices) for many of the newly autonomous regions within Indonesia. By examining both IP and adat, Lawrence underscores the benefits, but also reveals the shortcomings, of the public square as it functions throughout the Phil-Indo Archipelago. This study concludes with a projection of what future changes in the public square will augur, not only for the region but also for its neighbors.

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DOI: 10.1558/cis.v7i1-2.67

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