Muslim consumption and anti-consumption in Malaysia

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The purpose of this article is to further our understanding of the transformation of Muslim consumption and anti-consumption by an empirical case study of Malaysia. Much current anti-consumerist and anti-globalization discourse identifies boycotting as an immensely powerful force. I argue that insufficient attention has been paid to the micro-social logics of modern forms of religious consumption and anti-consumption in particular historical/national settings and that these issues should be explored in the interfaces between Islam, state and market. This article examines the political and cultural effects of the Islamic opposition’s call to boycott US goods in Malaysia in the wake of 9/11 that coincided with a forceful stress on promoting modern halal (in Arabic halal literally means ‘permissible or ‘lawful’) products and services. This article argues that from around that time, Muslim consumption in Malaysia became the subject of increasing consumer activism and I explore how Malaysian federal state institutions, Islamic organizations and consumers respond to and are affected by calls to boycott (anti-consumption) and boycott (consumption) a range of products. More specifically, this article examines the above issues building on ethnography from fieldwork with Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM), which is an organization that protects the interests of Muslim consumers and entrepreneurs, as well as Malay Muslim middle-class informants.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTidsskrift for Islamforskning
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)68-87
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2015

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