In a time of Brexit and Trump, when exclusive national identities are taken for granted, South East Asia's longstanding patterns of inclusive identity and interethnic networks merit our closest attention. However, much of anthropology and related scholarship has viewed ideologies of exclusive identity as normal rather than contingent. This scholarly emphasis has made the negotiation of diversity seem improbable and even detrimental to certain peoples, particularly those in ‘minority’ slots who may in fact need such negotiation the most. In this article, the author triangulates anthropology, South East Asia and the evolution of human society in relation to questions of stateless peoples and the lingering potential of civil pluralism.
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