Latest Thinking: How Has the Islamic Party of Malaysia’s Stance Towards Popular Culture Evolved?
While doing anthropological fieldwork in Malaysia, DOMINIK MÜLLER noticed that the Islamic Party of Malaysia organizes events and activities that are frequently embellished with popular culture elements, such as bands playing on electric guitars. This seemed at odds with common Western assumptions that Islamic political movements tend to condemn popular culture as un-Islamic. Müller then investigated how the change of the party’s religious stance – a Sharia-framed stance that had still been adamant twenty years before – came about. He found that not only the Islamic Party has opened itself to new forms of modern pop culture but also these elements have been appropriated and reframed in an Islamic context to convey the political messages of the party. This ethnographic study shows that Islamist ideologies can be much more complex and flexible than many people would normally assume.
(© Text Latest Thinking)
Author: Dominik Müller
Length: 13 minutes
Date of interview: 2017-05-08
Interviewer: Pajam Sobhani
Camera operator / Photographer: Sebastian Neumann
Content editor: Laura Habbe