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Houses in MotionThe Experience of Place and the Problem of Belief in Urban Malaysia$
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Richard Baxstrom

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804758918

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804758918.001.0001

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Strangers, Counterfeiters, and Gangsters

Strangers, Counterfeiters, and Gangsters

Figures of Belonging and the Problem of Belief

(p.130) 4 Strangers, Counterfeiters, and Gangsters
Houses in Motion
Stanford University Press

This chapter introduces several figures within Brickfields that showed how the residents tried to form a sense of self and community. These figures are the stranger, the counterfeiter, and the gangster, which were all taken from overlapping sites (i.e. the popular media, the Malaysian state, and the conversations of self and community that spread at the local neighbourhood level). It shows that these figures served as a way for the residents of Brickfields to understand the different events that made up their daily lives and as objects of belief created beyond the discourses on religion or state. The figures of counterfeiters and strangers are said to give “faces” to supposed threats within the community that deemed difficult to identify. On the other hand, the figure of the gangster was commonly associated by outsiders with Brickfields. This chapter thus aims to form a place of belief that is central to the creation of ethical forms of urban life.

Keywords:   sense of self, community, stranger, counterfeiter, gangster, objects of belief, ethical forms

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