Precarity and Islamism in Indonesia: the contradictions of neoliberalism

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This article investigates the link between growing precarity–associated with the process of neoliberal economic globalization–and growing Islamist tendencies in Indonesian society, through a case study of app-enabled transport workers. It applies a Gramscian notion of common sense to understand workers’ responses to their experiences of socio-economic marginalization and the articulation of their grievances. The combination of the near hegemony of a neoliberal worldview that encourages individual entrepreneurial prowess and an Islamist focus on moral self-cultivation inadvertently contributes to workers’ normalization of their precarity, furthering the atomization of the workforce. It also helps provide the setting for mobilizations of the urban precariat under Islamic banners, without challenging the imposition of neoliberal ideology on work and life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-104
Number of pages22
JournalCritical Asian Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • common sense
  • hegemony
  • Islamic populism
  • Precarity


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