Religion, Politics and Gender in Indonesia: Disputing the by Sonja van Wichelen

By Sonja van Wichelen

The political downfall of the Suharto management in 1998 marked the tip of the "New Order" in Indonesia, a interval characterised by means of 32 years of authoritarian rule. It opened the way in which for democracy, but in addition for the proliferation of political Islam, which the recent Order had discouraged or banned. some of the matters raised via Muslim teams involved issues concerning gender and the physique. They caused heated debates approximately women’s rights, lady political participation, sexuality, pornography, veiling, and polygamy.

The writer argues that public debates on Islam and Gender in modern Indonesia simply partly main issue faith, and extra usually consult with moving ethical conceptions of the masculine and female physique in its intersection with new type dynamics, nationwide identification, and international consumerism. through drawing close the contentious debates from a cultural sociological point of view, the e-book hyperlinks the theoretical domain names of physique politics, the mediated public sphere, and citizenship. putting the difficulty of gender and Islam within the context of Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority state on this planet, this ebook is a crucial contribution to the present literature at the subject. As such, will probably be of significant curiosity to students of anthropology, sociology, and gender studies.

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It conveyed the idea that Islam is not “backward”; instead, it is universal, open and even cosmopolitan (Hasbullah 2000: 29–35). It challenged Western modernity by constructing Muslim middle class consumerism and lifestyle. The 1990s saw elite and middle classes alter their lifestyles from Westernoriented styles to styles associated with Islamic piety. It established new paradigms of Muslim life compatible with modern fashion and identities. Hasbullah (2000: 41) referred to the emergence of prestigious seminars or retreats in fancy hotels to contemplate and talk about God or gatherings in private homes with an Islamic preacher to consult about issues pertaining to spirituality (majelis taklim).

As a consequence, they were often criticized by outsiders that they let themselves be incorporated by the state. However, as Van Doorn-Harder (2006) argues, this is only partly true. Although accompanying and working together with Family Welfare Programs (PKK), they attempted to be true to their Islamic frameworks and not only to state ideologies as such. The end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s saw the emergence of new women’s organizations. Primarily funded by Western donor agencies, these NGOs took the perspective of women’s rights as human rights.

They illustrated and provided counsel on practices considered good by Islam (halal) and warned against practices considered bad in Islam (haram). Implicitly, these booklets sent ideological messages of halal-haram paradigms often accompanied by images of “good” Muslim women and “good” Muslim men. The new press freedom in Indonesia led to paradoxical developments. On the one hand, it produced an increase of democratic Muslim media but simultaneously media mushroomed that were attached to more extremist views.

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