Migration, Ethnicity and Conflict in Southeast Asia

  • Riwanto Tirtosudarmo


This chapter is an overview of the interconnections between migration, ethnicity, and conflict in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is home of diverse ethnic groups, a region that experienced deep Western colonization. The British in Burma and Malaysia, the French in Vietnam, the Spain and the American in the Philippine, and the Dutch in Indonesia. Ethnicity, partly created during the colonization, becomes the fault-line and posits a time-bomb, critically dangerous entities following the process of decolonization. Apart from deep colonialism that brought with them Western capitalism, education system, and Christianity, Southeast Asia is also the recipient of ancient civilizations, Hinduism and Buddhism, Islam and Confucianism, brought by the Indian and Arab traders as well Chinese immigrants. Ethnicity and race often overlap with religions, stick into a particular geographical space, that created a kind of locally constructed polity. The decolonization followed by the transition into the nation-state is a painful political process. The nation building is an unfinished business characterized by rebellions, separatism, and ethnic and religious conflicts. The scars from unraveling violent conflicts still can be felt in many places in South Asia today, and it likely will continue to be seen in the near future.


Migration Ethnicity Conflict Colonialism Nation-state Southeast Asia 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Riwanto Tirtosudarmo
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Center for Society and CultureIndonesian Institute of SciencesJakartaIndonesia

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