Based on archival, library and ethnographic research, this thesis recasts the notion
of "everyday resistance" (as propounded by James Scott) in terms of the landscape and
spatiality of an urban Indian squatter settlement in Malaysia.
In postcolonial Malaysia, managing different and often competing ethnic and
religious identities in a Furnivallian "plural society" presents administrative problems as
well as a resource for political legitimation. Arguably, this is most starkly embodied in
"squatter colonies", often perceived as potential sites of urban discontent and unrest whilst
at the same time providing significant sources of urban labour and important political votebanks.
The first part of the thesis examines historically how categories like "squatting",
"religion" and "ethnicity" are rendered discursively meaningful. Attention is then shifted to
the "ethnographic present" of the fieldwork squatter settlement. I examine varied everyday
routines, social practices, and the use of space in juxtaposition to wider cultural and urban
processes. Tamil and Telegu Indians comprising two distinct religious groups - Hindu
devotees of the goddess Mariyamman and Seventh-Day Adventist Christians - are the main
foci of discussion. Descriptions of the celebration of the annual goddess festival (for the
former) and the weekly Sabbath services (for the latter) bring out the substantive
differences of these two groups in terms of culturally specific spatial idioms, and the
theoretical implications they pose for the study of "everyday resistance"