Constructing a grassroots Muslim majoritarian project

Event details

PSC Seminar Series

Date & time

Tuesday 07 December 2021




Chris Chaplin


Maxine McArthur

Over the past 30 years, Indonesia has witnessed the growing public prominence of a number of transnational Islamic revivalist movements. These have had a considerable impact on political culture, as the popularity of these movements has gone hand-in-hand with increasingly sectarian views across segments of Indonesian society.

Yet how do such movements successfully transmit their ideas at the grassroots level and present them in ways that influence national political opinion?

Chris aims to address this question by focusing on Indonesia’s largest Salafi-influenced organisation, Wahdah Islamiyah, and their activism in the city of Makassar, South Sulawesi.

This talk will illuminate how Wahdah Islamiyah have grown their local network of mosques and schools, and the subtle practices they deploy to frame their Islamic message in ways that both relate to the anxieties of their audience, but also promote a Muslim majoritarian vision of society.

More broadly, the talk will conclude by assessing the extent to which such activism can form the basis for broader socio-political mobilisation, and what it may tell us about the health of democratic debate and Islamic social movements in 21st century Indonesia.

Chris Chaplin is an Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at the Religion and Global Society Research Unit at the London School of Economics and a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Political and Social Change, ANU Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs.

His research straddles between the fields of anthropology, sociology, and politics, and is particularly focused on exploring the convergence between global Islamic doctrines and local understandings of piety and faith, and how these come to inform civic values, concepts of religious and political belonging, and social activism within Southeast Asia.

He received his PhD from the University of Cambridge and has recently published the book Salafism and the State: Islamic Activism and National Identity in Contemporary Indonesia with NIAS Press.

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Meeting ID: 878 2062 7268           Password: 033854     

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