Religion, Politics and Gender in Indonesia
Disputing the Muslim Body
Routledge – 2010 – 184 pages
The political downfall of the Suharto administration in 1998 marked the end of the "New Order" in Indonesia, a period characterized by 32 years of authoritarian rule. It opened the way for democracy, but also for the proliferation of political Islam, which the New Order had discouraged or banned. Many of the issues raised by Muslim groups concerned matters pertaining to gender and the body. They triggered heated debates about women’s rights, female political participation, sexuality, pornography, veiling, and polygamy.
The author argues that public debates on Islam and Gender in contemporary Indonesia only partially concern religion, and more often refer to shifting moral conceptions of the masculine and feminine body in its intersection with new class dynamics, national identity, and global consumerism. By approaching the contentious debates from a cultural sociological perspective, the book links the theoretical domains of body politics, the mediated public sphere, and citizenship. Placing the issue of gender and Islam in the context of Indonesia, the biggest Muslim-majority country in the world, this book is an important contribution to the existing literature on the topic. As such, it will be of great interest to scholars of anthropology, sociology, and gender studies.
Introduction: Disputing the Muslim Body 1. Muslim Politics and Democratization 2. The Debate on Female Leadership 3. Formations of Public Piety 4. Contesting Masculinity 5. Sexualized Bodies and Morality Talk. Conclusion: Negotiating the Citizen-Subject
Sonja van Wichelen is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Pembroke Center at Brown University, before which she held a Postdoctoral Fellowship with the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University (2007-2009). Her research focuses on cultural politics in the age of globalization and engages with issues of religion, gender, transnational adoption, ethnicity, and multiculturalism.