Spiritually surviving precarious times: Millennials in Jakarta, Indonesia

Inaya Rakhmani, Ariane Utomo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is increasingly urgent to consider how work conditions have shifted with neoliberal transformations and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. The precarious nature of work faced by millennials is widely acknowledged in the academic literature, but few scholars consider how spirituality is intimately connected to the multiple labour market challenges in the Global South. This paper uses sequential mixed methods to depict the social realities of millennials living in Jakarta, Indonesia. Importantly, precarity has become more entrenched into the nature of work during the pandemic, through the passage of the 2020 Job Creation Law. Precarious millennials in this Muslim-majority city use spiritual lexicons as coping strategies, as these help urban millennials to accept (ikhlas) the gradual disappearance of financially rewarding jobs and dwindling prospects for upward mobility in the formal economy. While spiritual narratives might seem religiously specific, they are useful for both Muslim and non-Muslim millennials to respond to broader and systemic job insecurity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-492
Number of pages20
JournalCritical Asian Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Indonesia
  • millennials
  • pandemic
  • precarity
  • spirituality


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