Broker, Mediator, Patron, and Kinsman: An Historical Analysis of Key Leadership Roles in a Rural Malaysian District
by Conner Bailey
Ohio University Press, 1997
Paper: 978-0-8214-0288-7 | eISBN: 978-0-89680-432-6
Library of Congress Classification HN700.6.K4B33 1976
Dewey Decimal Classification 301.352095951


This study attempts to relate questions of rural leadership to the constantly changing social and economic environment of a rural district in Malaysia during the twentieth century. The study itself began as an effort to analyze a single instance of structural change in Malay village leadership which occurred while the author worked in Sik District as a Peace Corps Volunteer (1968–1971). A research proposal was developed positing a traditional pattern of behavior which could be identified as traditional leadership, the better to contrast this with the bureaucratic style of the district’s new penghulus (headmen of a mukim, or subdistrict).

As research progressed, it became obvious that there was in fact no single traditional leadership pattern to be discovered, but rather that over time adaptations were regularly made whenever a significant change in Sik’s social and economic environment occurred. Although the study has retained rural leadership as a primary concern, it has been found necessary to relate it to Sik’s social and economic history.

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