MICRO Sociological Analysis Of Nationalism: The Fluidity Of Ethnic and Civic Identity In The Workplace, Malaysia

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 9:42 AM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Mansor MOHD-NOOR , Universiti Kebangdsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Malaysia
Eric OLMEDO , Institute of Ethnic studies (KITA), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Malaysia
Ethno and civic nationalism are seen as dichotomous and a single track evolution. Studying the essence of nationalism in post colonial society may often show the dichotomous nature of nationalism. However the forces of development, modernisation and globalisation show that ethno nationalism might prevail but embracing civic behaviour might be the emerging nationalism. In global organizations, ethnicity is often regarded as static cultural container, and ethnic conflict as traditional but unusually stubborn impediment to modernization. Our main initial assumption in this research states that experienced acculturation is one of the main forces to shape identity formation at workplace. Being concurrently a cultural marker and an identity catalyser, taste is powerful vessel for identity shaping in our studied workplace. The findings of this study were based on empirical data collected between 2008 and 2010, via qualitative methods, from a specific empirical field: 5 star international-brand hotels in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. There are two departments within these luxury international hotels where transfer of knowledge and skills take a particularly direct and tangible form: food and beverage and kitchen. Empirical evidence presented here may qualify “the Hotel” as an “advanced social laboratory” for the study of ethnic relations. Focussing on social actors, this micro-sociological study shows that ethnic identity, belief and behaviour are not static but fluid. A specific organisational model such as “the Hotel” can help us redefine how we see ethnic differences, not as divisive, but as inclusive, when contingent forces at work trigger “cross-cutting ties” along group boundaries. Transforming these inter-ethnic differences in “the Hotel” may lead to the discovery of ethno nationalism embracing civic behaviour in the service industry.