Mirjam LückingOct 4, 2021
Indonesians and Their Arab World
Guided Mobility Among Labor Migrants and Mecca Pilgrims
Southeast Asia Program Publications 2021
Indonesians and Their Arab World: Guided Mobility Among Labor Migrants and Mecca Pilgrims (Southeast Asia Program Publications, 2021) teases out the complex, often uneasy relationship between contemporary Indonesians and the Arab world. Despite being home to the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia exists on the periphery of an Islamic world centered around the Arabian Peninsula. Mirjam Lücking approaches the problem of interpreting the current conservative turn in Indonesian Islam by considering the ways personal relationships, public discourse, and matters of religious self-understanding guide two groups of Indonesians who travel to the Arabian Peninsula – labor migrants and Mecca pilgrims – in becoming physically mobile and making their mobility meaningful. This concept, which Lücking calls "guided mobility," reveals that changes in Indonesian Islamic traditions are grounded in domestic social constellations and calls claims of outward Arab influence in Indonesia into question. With three levels of comparison between urban and rural areas, Madura and Central Java, and migrants and pilgrims, this rich ethnography foregrounds how different regional and socioeconomic contexts shape Indonesians' engagements with and understandings of the Arab world.
Irene Promodh is a PhD student in sociocultural anthropology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. More details about her research can be found here. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow her on Twitter via @IrenePromodh.