Engineering Islam: From Faith in Development to Developing Faith in Indonesia

Event Details

Engineering Islam: From Faith in Development to Developing Faith in Indonesia

Time: November 12, 2009 from 3:30pm to 5pm
Location: KITLV, Room 138, University of Leiden
Street: Reuvensplaats 2
City/Town: Leiden
Website or Map: http://www.kitlv.nl/pdf_docum…
Event Type: lecture
Organized By: KITLV, Ledien Southeast Asia Seminar
Latest Activity: Oct 27, 2009

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Event Description

This paper analyzes a socio-technical scheme for developing faith in contemporary Indonesia. The paper describes how Islam is being mobilized to facilitate the neoliberal reform of state-owned enterprises planned for privatization. Based on 18 months of ethnographic research, most of which took place at state-owned Krakatau Steel in Cilegon, Banten, I show how what Indonesians call “spiritual reform” is mobilized to address the crisis posed by the end of faith in development. Faith in development refers to state-directed development and the post-colonial project of nationalist modernization and industrialization. The paper describes how spiritual reformers interpret the Qur’an, Islamic history, and Muslim religious practices to make Islam compatible with principles for corporate success found in human resources management texts, self-help manuals, and life-coaching sessions. In elaborately narrated and vividly illustrated PowerPoint presentations the prophet Muhammad is represented as an “ideal CEO” and the five pillars of Islam are reinterpreted as directives for business success. I conclude that this assemblage of the twilight of nationalist development, religious resurgence, and transnational economic integration provides insight into an alternative means to understand and analyze globalization. Whereas most social scientists treat globalization as either a space, an era, a culture, or a system, this new approach focuses the actual practice of globalization.

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