Ethnicity, law and development in Southeast Asia

Christoph Antons*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter will attempt to outline how the colonial powers used legal instruments to shape the economic roles of different minorities in accordance with the overarching colonial strategy of ‘divide and rule’. The chapter will then proceed to show the problems that the system posed to the newly independent states of Southeast Asia and their different reactions which ranged from upholding relevant colonial legislation, the abolition of such legislation, to the enactment of new discriminative laws to achieve a reversal of the colonial power structure. At the end of the chapter, an attempt will be made to assess the economic impact of these legal policies on the economic development process of the countries concerned. In view of the large number of countries surveyed, this chapter can provide only a brief survey of the issues. The essay is based on the assumption that an analysis of the legal framework of racial distinctions might give an additional explanation for ethnic tensions that is at least as important as cultural preferences or political alliances.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReading Asia
Subtitle of host publicationnew research in Asian Studies
EditorsFrans Hüsken, Dick van der Meij
Place of PublicationRichmond, UK
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781315028491
ISBN (Print)9780700713714
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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