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The Bureaucratisation of Islam in Southeast Asia: Transdisciplinary Perspectives

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-12, 05:33 authored by Dominik M Müller, Kerstin SteinerKerstin Steiner

“Islam is not a ‘church institution’”, it “lacks the centralised leadership and institutions associated with Christianity!” This common wisdom is first semester knowledge for students of Islamic Studies, and a frequently invoked formula among experts responding to what they consider inadequate representations of Islam and misplaced expectations towards Muslims. Its invocation counters ways of looking at Islam through the lens of Christianity and the epistemic modes of European secularity, resulting in Eurocentric equations that overlook fundamental differences between two discursive traditions that are, in many ways, distinct (Asad 1986: 5).1 Taking the critique of false comparison and inappropriate terminology one step further, the very category of religion has been problematised vis-à-vis its (non-)applicability to non-Western settings (Asad 19932), albeit with little if any impact in wider public debates. But what happens when state actors operating in the name of Islam, or Muslim communities themselves, seek to adapt Islamic discourse to bureaucratic settings of the modern nation state that many observers have described as fundamentally alien to “authentic” Islam? 

History

Publication Date

2018-04-01

Journal

Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs

Volume

37

Issue

1

Pagination

24p. (p. 3-26)

Publisher

SAGE

ISSN

1868-1034

Rights Statement

© 2018 SAGE Publications Ltd. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 License (https://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work as published without adaptation or alteration, provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

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