Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 539–560

Muslim Women, Moral Visions: Globalization and Gender Controversies in Indonesia


    • Department of SociologyUniversity of Virginia

DOI: 10.1007/s11133-011-9204-2

Cite this article as:
Rinaldo, R. Qual Sociol (2011) 34: 539. doi:10.1007/s11133-011-9204-2


Since 1998, Indonesia’s democratization has produced contentious public debates, many of which revolve around issues of gender and sexual morality. Yet such controversies not only often focus on women, but also involve women as participants. This article examines how Muslim women activists in two organizations adapt global discourses to participate in important public sphere debates about pornography and polygamy. Indonesia’s moral debates demonstrate an important way in which global discourses are negotiated in national settings. In the debates, some pious women use discourses of feminism and liberal Islam to argue for women’s equality, while others use Islam to call for greater moral regulation of society. My research demonstrates that global discourses of feminism and Islamic revivalism are mediated through national organizations which shape women’s political activism and channel it in different directions. Women’s political subjectivities are thus shaped through their involvement in national organizations that structure the ways they engage with global discourses. The Indonesian case shows not only that the national should not be conflated with the local, but also demonstrates the significance of national contexts and histories for understanding global processes.


GenderGlobalizationFeminismIndonesiaIslamPornographyPolygamyPublic SphereTransnational

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011