Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Ethnic Diversity in Malaysia-Lessons Learned from Bio-Diversity Research

Evers, Hans-Dieter and Anis, Yusuf and Shamsul, A.B. (2010): Ethnic Diversity in Malaysia-Lessons Learned from Bio-Diversity Research.


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Biology and Anthropology/Sociology have dealt with issues of diversity for a long time,developing different concepts, theories and methods. In recent years there has been, if not a convergence, but at least a recognition that problems in nature and in society are interrelated. This paper attempts to use methods of biodiversity research and test their applicability for a study of ethnic relations. It is noted that the preservation of biodiversity ranks high on the agenda of researchers and politicians, whereas ethnic diversity is often associated with unrest, conflict and economic decline. We try to reverse this tendency by emphasizing social cohesion and the social and economic value of ethnic diversity. An “ethnic diversity index” is developed and proposed for further analysis of Malaysia’s plural society. This index is based on Simpson’s diversity index, commonly used in biodiversity research. Furthermore research on the interrelation of bio- and ethnic diversity is advocated.

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