Accepting inequality in precarious Southeast Asia


Double Panel

Part 1

Session 3
Tue 14:30-16:00 REC A1.03

Part 2

Session 4
Tue 16:30-18:00 REC A1.03


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Egalitarian moral ideals are acknowledged as universal throughout Southeast Asia: states as well as individuals consider all human beings equal, meaning they are entitled to the same rights regardless of their gender, social/religious/ethnic belonging, or appearance. However, it is also widely experienced that inequality exists at all levels of society. In fact, parallel to egalitarian moralities, most people explicitly and/or implicitly accept a certain degree of inequality (discrimination, oppression, exploitation, insecurity and vulnerability). They do not contrast it either in practices or in ideas and emotions and/or are compliant with some hierarchy.

In this panel, we focus on the individual and social acceptance of inequality and examine practised forms of social and personal hierarchy, which in turn can be seen as natural, traditional or inevitable. In this respect, ‘acceptance’ can be used as an analytical tool, the antithesis of the fortunate term ‘resistance’.

More precisely, we will consider the forms of practical and symbolic acceptance of inequality in contexts of poverty, spatial marginality and exploitation in neoliberal Southeast Asia. We will compare local practical notions (thoughts, plans, ideas, objects, actions) of both inequality and its resolution or transformation.