Islam and Capitalism in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia
Time & LocationSession 6
Thu 11:00–12:30 Room 1.204
- Viola Thimm University of Hamburg
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- Beauty East, Beauty West: The Making of “Halal” Beauty in Indonesia Diah Ariani Arimbi Universitas Airlangga
Beauty fascinates us all, especially women, regardless of their race, social and cultural standings or religions. Not only has beauty managed to characterize women but also it has become an identity marker for them. And the media has given a powerful representation of beauty for women and girls. Through mass media, images of women and girls have bombarded us with more or less a culture that is heavily polished by pop culture, especially Western pop culture. The face in the magazines often serves the standard(ized) beauty for the readers. This paper will address the representation of female beauty in Indonesia, especially Muslim or Islamic beauty. How does Indonesian Islam see beauty as Islam constructs beauty within the parameters of faith – often termed as halal beauty - is one question this paper tries to answer. By understanding how Muslim women understand the concept of beauty and how the concept of beauty represented in the Islamic magazines, this paper also attempts to see whether there is a shift in the meaning of the concept or perception of beauty or it is merely formed by consumerism. As consumerism has been long associated with the Western world, the discussion in the paper will also comprise how the perception of beauty for Indonesian Muslim women, is indeed a social and cultural construction that is not only housed within indigenous/local Indonesian context but is also heavily influenced by (Middle) Eastern Islamic world and the global (Western) standards. The East-West relationship seems to be pivotal in constructing Muslim beauty in Indonesia.
- Halal Commensality Experiences in a Multireligious Society: Towards Building Social Cohesion in Malaysia Aiedah Abdul Khalek Monash University
Scholars have discovered the role of commensality in binding individuals, family and community. Existing work on commensality focuses mostly on consumers’ behaviour, marketing, and various commensality practices in a community. However, there is limited academic work done on the role of halal commensality in building social cohesion among people with different religious beliefs and dietary practices. Thus, this study focuses on the collective experience of halal commensality and unpacks the experiences of the community in order to analyse the synergy of halal commensality and social cohesion in a multireligious society. Adopting a mixed method approach, survey and interviews were conducted in different cities in Malaysia to gather the findings. This study finds that practices of halal commensality link with multiple dimensions of social cohesion in a multireligious society.
- Is Malaysia Losing Its Leadership in the Global Halal Market? Cedomir Nestorovic ESSEC Business School Asia Pacific
In the domain of Islamic business, Malaysia was the most innovative country in the world. Without surprise Nestlé has established its halal hub in Malaysia and students used to come in hundreds to learn about Islamic finance at the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) or INCEIF (International Centre for Islamic Finance Education) in Kuala Lumpur. Tabung Haji was the synonym of the efficient Hajj organization and Islam Hadhari was studied at Universities and Institutes across the country.
All this came to a halt after 2009. Other countries started to challenge Malaysia’s role as the leading Islamic business country. The Emirates, and especially Dubai stepped in with the creation of the DIEDC (Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center) in 2013. Dubai developed its own halal standards under the auspices of ESMA (Emirates Standardization and Metrology Authority), also in 2013. Back in Malaysia, the initiative to coordinate all halal certificates in the world under the leadership of Malaysia with the creation of IHI (International Halal Integrity Alliance) in 2007 ended lamentably in 2017.
The purpose of this paper is to address Malaysia’s journey as a leading country in Islamic business and find out why and how it can lose its leadership in the halal business worldwide. More specifically we will focus on political and economic reasons for this drastic change.
- Muslim Piety as Economy: Markets, Meaning and Morality in Southeast Asia Johan Fischer Roskilde University
This talk is about the the edited volume Muslim Piety as Economy: Markets, Meaning and Morality in Southeast Asia by Johan Fischer and Jeremy Jammes (Routledge 2019). The first volume to explore Muslim piety as a form of economy, this book examines specific forms of production, trade, regulation, consumption, entrepreneurship and science that condition – and are themselves conditioned by – Islamic values, logics and politics. With a focus on Southeast Asia as a site of significant and diverse integration of Islam and the economy – as well as the incompatibilities that can occur between the two – it reveals the production of a Muslim piety as an economy in its own right. Interdisciplinary in nature and based on in-depth empirical studies, the book considers issues such as the Qur’anic prohibition of corruption and anti-corruption reforms; the emergence of the Islamic economy under colonialism; ‘halal’ or ‘lawful’ production, trade, regulation and consumption; modesty in Islamic fashion marketing communications; and financialisation, consumerism and housing. As such, it will appeal to scholars of sociology, anthropology and religious studies with interests in Islam and Southeast Asia.
Since the 1980s, capitalist processes in Asia have been occurring which are characterized by entanglements of spiritual economies, neoliberal piety and economic modernization. Malaysia has placed itself into the center of these dynamics in the 2000s by, as a “halal hub,” setting worldwide standards for different economic spheres according to syariah law (halal economy). With so called Islamic Tourism, halal cosmetic and fashion products and particularly with a halal-certification system, Malaysia has complemented the “spiritual center of Islam” – Mecca and Medina – with an economic Islamic center. Initiatives and corporate bodies in Singapore and Indonesia follow these dynamics: Singapore’s strategic location serves as a significant factor for the potential growth of its halal industry and Indonesia with the largest Muslim population in the world has, in turn, the largest potential for halal consumption. This panel invites presentations that deal with the rising Islamic economies in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia and its complex negotiation processes between religious and economic spheres. On an empirical level it can be analyzed how production and consumption of halal products are related to one another; how social actors consume these products and how the halal industry influences mobility as well as concepts and practices of gender, class, religion and ethnicity. On a theoretical level, papers can address interlinkages between the evolvement of spiritual economies and nation state building; transformations in understandings of “halal” and “haram” or the role of morality and spirituality as part of these processes.