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Writing an Identity: Content and Conceptions of a Brunei-Dusan "Constitution" of 1981

Borneo Research Council Monograph Series Volume 12


Eva Maria Kershaw


Roger Kershaw

Price $40.00

ISBN 1-929900-12-0



The short study is one fruit of the authors’ ten-year stay in the Sultanate of Brunei, 1984-94. Topics covered include general customs, marriage customs, death rites as well as  ethnographic notes on birth, marriage and death. 

According to a review by Monica Janowski of SOAS, this book is “essentially a list of adat rules. It is argued by the authors that it is somewhat sanitized of religious elements. This is due to the problems associated with animist beliefs in the context of Muslim Brunei...The introduction includes discussion of ideas around the nation, nationalism and ethnic identity in the Brunei context and the problems associated with this in relation to Dusun identity in Brunei...The desire to achieve a compilation of adat rules accepted formally by the Brunei State is taken by the authors to be an attempt to assert and to have accepted Dusun identity and ‘nationhood’...The book is useful and interesting in presenting a set of Dusun adat rules, as compiled by a group of educated Dusun and reflecting their perception of what such rules should constitute. It is also interesting to have notes on the reactions of village-based Dusun on their content.”

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