An Anthropological Approach to the Islamic Turn in Indonesia's Regional Politics

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Existing analyses of the Islamic turn in regional Islamic politics in Indonesia have overlooked the possibility that these politics - often critiqued for their negative implications for minorities and vulnerable segments - are to some extent reflections of indigenous cultural dispositions. Drawing on the author's long-time ethnographic work in West Java, as well as recent anthropological theorising about public ethics in Islamic societies, the article identifies a significant correlation between, on the one hand, the practical forms and legislative outputs of the regional Islamic turn, and on the other, a characteristic notion of public decorum that is asserted in routines of embodied Islamic observance. The article notes that this extension of an embodied, practice-based public ethics into the political regimes of national life has created conflict with the disembodied civic order established in Indonesia's constitution and state ideology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-226
Number of pages20
JournalTRaNS: Trans-Regional and -National Studies of Southeast Asia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • Anthropology of Islam
  • Indonesia
  • Indonesian Regions
  • KEYWORDSIslamic Politics
  • Shariah Regulations
  • West Java

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