The embedment of Islamic cultures: an analysis of Islamic, cultural, and political practices in Malaysia

Wan Mohd Ghazali, W.N.B., 2016. The embedment of Islamic cultures: an analysis of Islamic, cultural, and political practices in Malaysia. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This research examines the entrenchment of Islamic cultures in Malaysia’s political system and society. The study contends that the state is involved directly in the composition of cultures through its power structure. The study begins with an initial question of 'how Islamic ideology has been embedded in the socio-political context'. As Islam is not the only practising religion; another question to be explored is 'what interpretation do people give to the construction and practices of Islam'. With the aim to extend the current research treatment of Malaysia’s Islamic revivalism and Islamisation project, this study focuses on the cultural implications and experiences of Islam. Since most research deals with the broader role of Islam in Malaysian politics, the cultural implications and experiences of the religion in society has not been specifically or substantively addressed and has led to the peripheral notion of Islam.
This study uses an individual interview approach and focus group discussions on exploring the experiences of the research participants with regard to the phenomenon under investigation. Participants from three categories – government authority, media practitioner, and ordinary people – were approached with the general assumption that they could provide from general to specific information related to the key research questions. An abbreviated version of grounded theory using a constructivist-interpretivist paradigm is adopted to explore the lived experiences of individuals who witness, experience, and involve in the ways in which Islam has been constructed, preserved, contested, or resisted in the society.
Based on the framework built from the grounded theory analysis, the research shows Islam as one of the ideological hegemony that strengthens the state's power in governing Malaysian society. In so doing, the state assembles many important institutions and mobilises them as its cultural producers to shape the understanding and practice of Islam at the political level. The study also reveals, when religious consciousness has increased, the Islamisation projects are no longer a mere political rivalry and state’s manipulation of power but more towards fulfilling the community's need for stronger Islam. From Gramscian notion, the state promotes values that are in congruence with the people’s interest to retain its hegemony. This has moulded the culture and lifestyle of the Muslim in Malaysia through the visibility of Islamic practices as compared to other religions. However, it is learned from the data, some Islamic rules and practices have put ethnic relations into complex situations. The identification of Malay and Islam has led to the portrayal of other ethnic groups as the ‘other’. Too much emphasis on Islam (us) has side-lined other religious practices (other). In conclusion, these results negate the view that Islam holds a subservient position as claimed by a few studies. Finally, the research suggests other areas that could be explored using the same framework.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Wan Mohd Ghazali, W.N.B.
Date: October 2016
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author (Note: if there are other owners of the IP, as a consequence of any statement issued under paragraph 12 of Section 14A, they must also be named here). You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner(s) of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 04 Sep 2017 09:00
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2017 09:01

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