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Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(3), 103; doi:10.3390/socsci6030103

Images of Authentic Muslim Selves: Gendered Moralities and Constructions of Arab Others in Contemporary Indonesia

1
Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Freiburg, Breisgau, Fahnenbergplatz 79085, Germany
2
School of Culture History and Language, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 June 2017 / Revised: 7 August 2017 / Accepted: 29 August 2017 / Published: 3 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Understanding Muslim Mobilities and Gender)
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Abstract

In contemporary Indonesia, Muslims increasingly define themselves by othering fellow Muslims, including Arab Muslims. This article examines how Indonesian Muslims, who have traveled to and/or resided in the Middle East, construct their social identities in relation to Arab others. Ethnographic research with labor migrants and pilgrims, and a cultural analysis of cinematic representations of Indonesian students in Cairo, show that conceptions of gendered moralities feature strongly in the ways in which these particular Indonesian Muslims define their authentic Muslim selves, as distinct from Arab others. They attribute ideal male and female characteristic features to Asian Islamic identities, while they portray objectionable ones as Arab culture. This implies that self-representations play a crucial role in the ways in which Indonesian Muslims relate to a region, culture and people long viewed as the “center” of Islamic culture. The representations of Arab others and Indonesian selves eventually lead to contestations of religious authenticity and social class. View Full-Text
Keywords: gender; moralities; mobilities; othering; Indonesian Muslims; Arab Others; social identity; Islamization; authenticity gender; moralities; mobilities; othering; Indonesian Muslims; Arab Others; social identity; Islamization; authenticity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Lücking, M.; Eliyanah, E. Images of Authentic Muslim Selves: Gendered Moralities and Constructions of Arab Others in Contemporary Indonesia. Soc. Sci. 2017, 6, 103.

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