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Book: Islam, Law, and Equality in Indonesia

In this book the writer analyses the social frameworks for disputes about land, inheritance, marriage, divorce, Islamic History and, more broadly, about the relationships between the state and Islam, and between Muslims and non-Muslims.

In Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, Muslims struggle to reconcile radically different sets of social norms and laws, including those derived from Islam, local social norms, and contemporary ideas about gender equality and rule of law. In this study, John Bowen explores this struggle, through archival and ethnographic research in villages and courtrooms of the Aceh Province, Sumatra, and through interviews with national religious and legal figures. He analyses the social frameworks for disputes about land, inheritance, marriage, divorce, Islamic History and, more broadly, about the relationships between the state and Islam, and between Muslims and non-Muslims. The book speaks to debates carried out in all societies about how people can live together with their deep differences in values and ways of life. It will be welcomed by scholars and students across the social sciences, particularly those interested in anthropology, cultural sociology and political theory.

Muslims currently struggle to reconcile radically different sets of social norms and laws (including those derived from Islam, as well as contemporary ideas about gender equality and law) in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country. John Bowen explores their struggle through archival and ethnographic research and interviews with national religious and legal figures. His book relates to debates in any society where people struggle to live together with extreme differences in values and lifestyles and is welcomed by scholars and students in all branches of the social sciences.

John R. Bowen is Dunbar-Van Cleve Professor in Arts and Sciences, Professor of Anthropology, and Chair of the Program in Social Thought and Analysis at Washington University, St Louis. He is the author of Sumatran Politics and Poetics (1991), Muslims through Discourse (1993), Religions through Practice, 2nd edition (2001), and the co-editor of Critical Comparisons in Politics and Culture (Cambridge, 1999).

Table of Contents

Part 1    Village repertoires          

1              Law, religion, and pluralism

2              Adat’s local inequalities

3              Remapping adat

Part 2    Reasoning legally through scripture        

4              The contours of the courts

5              The judicial history of “consensus”

6              The poisoned gift

7              Historicizing scripture, justifying equality

Part 3    Governing Muslims through family         

8              Whose word is law?

9              Gender equality in the family?

10           Justifying religious boundaries

11           Public reasoning across cultural pluralism

Bibliographic Information

Title: Islam, Law, and Equality in Indonesia: An Anthropology of Public Reasoning

Author: John R. Bowen

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Language: English

Length: 306 pages

ISBN: 9780521531894

Pub. Date: May 2003

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