What’s the matter? The meaning of halal culture for Indonesian Muslims

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In modern history, the availability and affordability of a range of commodities that cater to the specific needs of consumers have permeated globally. While most brands that dominate global markets remain ‘Western’, their spread and adoption in Asia have been met with various specific cultural responses. Such is the case with Indonesia, a Muslim-majority country and the largest economy in Southeast Asia. There has been rising halal consumerism in at least the past two decades, which some have understood as a response towards global economic changes. This article aims to understand the meaning of halal, or permissible according to Islamic doctrines, as felt by young Muslims (18–35 years) in the capital city of Jakarta. It analyses semi-structured interviews with 120 young Muslims in Jakarta’s capital city in 2018 and 2020. It finds that the meaning of halal in Indonesia is shaped by and practised within the material conditions of global market capitalism. This article finds that halal practices include the production and consumption of halal goods and services, where Muslim workers and consumers strive to maintain Islamic lawfulness within neoliberal market settings.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAsian Journal of Communication
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • halal
  • Indonesia
  • Islam
  • meaning
  • practice


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