Neither here nor there: the uneven modernisation of Malay masculinity

Rahmat, Ahmad Fuad (2020) Neither here nor there: the uneven modernisation of Malay masculinity. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Through various far-reaching measures of modernisation the recently independent Malaysian state endeavoured to construct a capitalist infrastructure while demanding Malay men to embrace a new ethos of hard work, conquest and productivity. This thesis analyses Malay films to explore the extent to which the clash of differing temporalities in the aforesaid process problematized Malay masculine power. To explore this I shall turn to a local trend of films about Malay men in transit where they are often shown journeying in search of home and work. Here I point out two things: Firstly, we frequently a see a struggle for men to adapt to modernisation shown against women’s relatively more adjusted and advanced position in it. Secondly, this often raises the structural question of which gender ultimately commands the meaning of ‘home’ and belonging, a question that reveals a tension between a modernity dictated in Malay masculine terms and a longer-standing history of Malay women’s cultural influence. Ultimately, I argue that Malaysian modernity is underlined by a cultural battle over the gender of history, as the question of who Malay modernity is for, that is to say if it will be won by its men or women, remains unresolved. This amounts to an uneven gender regime where Malay women’s historically established cultural authority actively contends with an expanding patriarchy.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Khoo, Gaik Cheng
Wright, Colin
Keywords: Malay men, Malay masculine, Malaysian modernity, cultural battle, Malay modernity, gender regime, cultural authority
Subjects: P Language and literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion pictures
Faculties/Schools: University of Nottingham, Malaysia > Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Media, Languages and Cultures
Item ID: 59905
Depositing User: RAHMAT, Ahmad
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2020 04:40
Last Modified: 06 May 2020 10:49

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