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Institutions and Social Mobilization: Save Our School (Damansara) Movement in Malaysia

Ang, Ming Chee LU (2010) The 5th Singapore Graduate Forum on Southeast Asia Studies
Abstract
Social movements in Malaysia have been traditionally exclusive in nature. Social movements in Malaysia have been limited by ethnic, social, and lingual barriers that constrained their capacity mobilizing the mass to overcome state constraints. However, the resistance of the Damansara New Village community against the State’s closure of the community school, Damansara Primary School, demonstrated the potential–and provided scholars with a renewed perspective–of social movements in Malaysia. The resistance, which manifested itself as the Save Our School Movement (SOS Movement), epitomizes the dilemma of Chinese education in Malaysia that has spun over five decades. At the height of the movement, it was transformed into a fight to defend the... (More)
Social movements in Malaysia have been traditionally exclusive in nature. Social movements in Malaysia have been limited by ethnic, social, and lingual barriers that constrained their capacity mobilizing the mass to overcome state constraints. However, the resistance of the Damansara New Village community against the State’s closure of the community school, Damansara Primary School, demonstrated the potential–and provided scholars with a renewed perspective–of social movements in Malaysia. The resistance, which manifested itself as the Save Our School Movement (SOS Movement), epitomizes the dilemma of Chinese education in Malaysia that has spun over five decades. At the height of the movement, it was transformed into a fight to defend the rights of education in the mother tongue of the Chinese minority in a multi-cultural, but Malay majority-dominated, state. The movement was well-covered by national media during its early phase and received support from even non-Chinese-speaking groups and non-Chinese ethnic groups. Utilizing the SOS movement as an empirical example, this paper provides an overview of the processes of institutionalization and professionalization of a social movement organization, and argues that institutions and social mobilization are two significant factors that contributed to the minority social movement organization in becoming a sustained force in pushing its agenda for over seven years despite facing ongoing constraints imposed by a majority-dominated state. The trajectory of the seven-year movement was sustained through financial and spiritual support from a complicated nationwide collaborative social network of Chinese community organizations. Institutional regulations, norms, and constitutions shaped the foundation of the framework for collaboration among these community organizations; individual social capital, credibility, and shared grievances fuelled and sustained its social mobilization. Despite being small in size, the movement made significant claims in ballot box politics, and successfully negotiated a compromise from the Barisan Nasional government, which eventually saw the reopening of the original premise (Chung Hwa Damansara Chinese Primary School) in 2008. (Less)
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author
publishing date
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Contribution to conference
publication status
unpublished
subject
keywords
chinese education, damansara, malaysia, social movement
conference name
The 5th Singapore Graduate Forum on Southeast Asia Studies
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
f7ceac27-b93d-40ab-b94d-9a99d866f131 (old id 4354439)
date added to LUP
2014-03-18 14:34:08
date last changed
2016-07-05 14:55:16
@misc{f7ceac27-b93d-40ab-b94d-9a99d866f131,
  abstract     = {Social movements in Malaysia have been traditionally exclusive in nature. Social movements in Malaysia have been limited by ethnic, social, and lingual barriers that constrained their capacity mobilizing the mass to overcome state constraints. However, the resistance of the Damansara New Village community against the State’s closure of the community school, Damansara Primary School, demonstrated the potential–and provided scholars with a renewed perspective–of social movements in Malaysia. The resistance, which manifested itself as the Save Our School Movement (SOS Movement), epitomizes the dilemma of Chinese education in Malaysia that has spun over five decades. At the height of the movement, it was transformed into a fight to defend the rights of education in the mother tongue of the Chinese minority in a multi-cultural, but Malay majority-dominated, state. The movement was well-covered by national media during its early phase and received support from even non-Chinese-speaking groups and non-Chinese ethnic groups. Utilizing the SOS movement as an empirical example, this paper provides an overview of the processes of institutionalization and professionalization of a social movement organization, and argues that institutions and social mobilization are two significant factors that contributed to the minority social movement organization in becoming a sustained force in pushing its agenda for over seven years despite facing ongoing constraints imposed by a majority-dominated state. The trajectory of the seven-year movement was sustained through financial and spiritual support from a complicated nationwide collaborative social network of Chinese community organizations. Institutional regulations, norms, and constitutions shaped the foundation of the framework for collaboration among these community organizations; individual social capital, credibility, and shared grievances fuelled and sustained its social mobilization. Despite being small in size, the movement made significant claims in ballot box politics, and successfully negotiated a compromise from the Barisan Nasional government, which eventually saw the reopening of the original premise (Chung Hwa Damansara Chinese Primary School) in 2008.},
  author       = {Ang, Ming Chee},
  keyword      = {chinese education,damansara,malaysia,social movement},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {Institutions and Social Mobilization: Save Our School (Damansara) Movement in Malaysia},
  year         = {2010},
}