Spiritual man, legal-rational man: Chinese authorities and leadership in the fishing village of Gertak Sanggul, Penang, Malaysia
Ai Boay Tan (Universtiy Tunku Abdul Rahman/ University of Malaya)
Paper short abstract:
This paper is an extension and integration of the concept of “big man” and “charismatic authority”. The aim of the research is to study the role played by the spiritual man and legal rational man in a geographical isolated Chinese fishing village in maintaining Chinese identity.
Paper long abstract:
This paper is an extension and integration of the concept of "big man" and "charismatic authority" proposed by Marshall Sahlin and Max Weber respectively. The study will focus on Gertak Sanggul, a geographical isolated Chinese fishing village with a population of 1,500 residents,. The aim of the research is to study the role played by the spiritual man and legal rational man in maintaining Chinese identity. Did the co-existence of two types of authorities resulted in the contestation for leadership, or has it accelerated the consolidation of the Chinese village? This is a cross discipline study, which utilises historical materials, and anthropological methods. Apart from English archival and Chinese epigraphic materials, the paper will also record the daily rituals, as well as the myths and collective memory in the village. The transformation of the types of authorities will also be taken into account.
The maintenance and consolidation of Malaysian Chinese identities: an anthropological exploration