The Personal is Political: Gendered Morality in Indonesia's Halal Consumerism

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Recent scholarship on the shift to the right in Asian democracies has predominantly been focused on political organisations, leaving social movements outside of them largely understudied. This article brings forth the link between the rise of right-wing politics in Indonesia - often associated with Islamic populist narratives - and the role of the market. It studies the way halal consumerism has helped shape the narrative of the ummah, an idea that was mobilised during the largest religiously-driven demonstration in the capital city Jakarta on 2 December 2016. By explicating the melding of Islamic piety and consumerism, this study illustrates how halal consumerism aid middle-class Muslims in navigating the neo-liberal social world they live in. The article uses survey data to explore the social status and religious views of participants in the mass rally, and delves deeper through interviews with urban, middle-class female Muslims who envision a cross-class ummah that defends Islam against an imagined oppressor. This paper discusses their role in social process related to politico-religious conservatism, specifically in defending the ideal marriage and family through market mechanisms. Through this analysis, I find that the combination of Islamic morality and neo-liberal values politicises the domestic and traditional role of the female Muslim; this has contributed to social changes that hinder democratic developments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-312
Number of pages22
JournalTRaNS: Trans-Regional and -National Studies of Southeast Asia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • gendered morality
  • halal consumerism
  • Indonesia
  • Islamic politics
  • Muslim middle class
  • Neo-liberalism


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