Main research interests : Ethnicity and belonging, sense of belonging to place, label, time and to others, kinship, border identities, multiple realities, habitus per Bourdieu, ‘militant middle' (Herzfield 2005), ‘locals and cosmopolitans' (Hannerz 1990), and etc.
Other research interests : linguistics, linguistic anthropology, language and culture, interplay between language, labels and identity, applied linguistics (mother tongue transmission and maintenance, etc.), indigenous communities, experiences of illegal immigrants, ethnography/native ethnography, autobiography, and etc.
Thesis title: : Ethnicity and Belonging in Sabah (Malaysian Borneo): The Kadazandusuns
For many people, ethnicity is not a conscious practice. However, in Malaysia, it is mired in everyday reality: at school, in the workplace, in business, one is constantly reminded of one's 'Native' or 'migrant'
status. Being 'Native', or Bumiputera in the Malay language, entitles one to special rights and privileges over so-called 'migrant' or non-Bumiputera groups.
My research takes me to consider the ethnicization phenomena in the Kadazandusun group, one of the largest Native/Bumiputera ethnic groups in the Malaysian state of Sabah (on the island of Borneo). The main aim of this project is to explore the ethnicity among the Kadazandusuns: What is the character of everyday-defined identity for Kadazandusuns, and how does it relate to their government-defined Bumiputera identity, in the context of a society in which all major areas of life are heavily ethnicised and politicised?