Inter-Asia Cultural Studies: Movements

17.1 visual essay
17.1 visual essay



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  »  Issues Contents  2012-09-25 Urban Islamic spectacles


Urban Islamic spectacles: transforming the space of the shopping mall during Ramadan in Indonesia
ABSTRACT In recent years, the holy month of Ramadan has in Indonesia allegedly shifted from a period of piety to a euphoric spectacle of consumerism. This shift can be observed in the remarkable transformations that urban spaces of Indonesian cities undergo during Ramadan. Drawing on fieldwork data, thereby particularly focusing on the space of the mall, this article analyses how space is produced and transformed during Ramadan. The article shows how Islam, through discursive representations, carves out a public space of its own. Here, the article demonstrates how (the production of) space is charged with ideological symbols, moves through social imaginations and negotiates Islamic modernities. Furthermore, the case of Ramadan enables a critical reading of two themes that can be recognized in previous studies concerned with the production of space: (1) the separation of space and time and (2) the linear production of space. Through theorizing the space of the mall as a heterotopia and ‘Ramadan’ as a specific heterotopic moment, the article proposes a conceptual model that systematically integrates time in the study of space.
Keywords: space, time, shopping mall, Ramadan, Islam, Indonesia, heterotopia
Author’s biography
Leonie Schmidt (MA) is a PhD Candidate at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis and a lecturer in the Media Studies department of the University of Amsterdam. Her PhD project analyses how through practices of Indonesian visual culture, Islamic modernities are imagined, negotiated and contested, while global modern urban Islamic futures in a post 9/11 world are projected.

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