Diversity, Inequity, and Conflict in Global Asia

David Ludden


Orientalism created a framework for conceptualizing diversity as a collection of essential differences built into cultures and peoples that define basic parameters of their interaction. The idea of clashing civilizations does the same. In this framework, the judgement of difference and its substantive constituents entails a presumption of superiority of one group over another and provokes fear among superiors of threat and challenge to the natural state of difference-as-superiority. Using examples from southern Asia, I consider how this framework for managing diversity -- and its opposition, contesting inequity -- operate in the world of globalization.