Islam and Capitalism in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia

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Abstract

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-certificationsystem, 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.