An Islamic Digital Divide? Exploring Islamic Interfaces of the Internet and Their (In) Equalities in Indonesia

The panel discusses current research about Islamic uses of popular interfaces of the internet, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, LINE etc., with a special emphasis on how no or limited access to these interfaces might create or reinforce (religious) inequalities among Indonesian Muslims. The panel also welcomes contributions that indicate trends toward equality and de-hierarchization in Indonesia’s Islamic field in connection with the appropriation of digital technologies. Whereas phenomena that can be subsumed under the popular expression “digital divide” clearly exist in Indonesia – given that not all Indonesians are online or have access to digital realms to the same extent – the panel asks how existing (infra)structures of technological inequality affect Islamic practice, intra-religious relations, and the constitution of Indonesia’s Islamic field at large. In this regard, papers that are inspired by one or more of the following questions are particularly welcome: To what extent do the uses of social media influence Islamic practices, and how do they inform the inclusion of Muslims in or their exclusion from particular religious communities? How does the (dis)connection between social media and Islamic authority look like in Indonesia? Who can gain additional Islamic authority by engaging in social media practices and who cannot? How are digital interfaces used to subvert existing hierarchies in Indonesia’s Islamic field? To what extent or in which cases can one discern a correlation between broader societal inequalities, digital inequalities and Islamic hierarchies? What is the analytical value of concepts such as class, generation and ethnicity for such an analysis? Finally, does it make sense to speak of an Islamic digital divide, or a broader pattern of Islamic digital divides, in Indonesia?

Panel Coordinator:

Dayana Parvanova (Institute for Social Anthropology, Austrian Academy of Sciences)
Martin Slama (Institute for Social Anthropology, Austrian Academy of Sciences)

Presenters:

  1. Digital Connections of the Naqshabandi Nazimi in Indonesia [Moh. Yasir Alimi]
  2. The Making of the “Righteous” Muslim Woman: The Internet’s Role in Islamic Preaching and Segregating Indonesian Muslim Women [Ratna Fabrian]
  3. Signs of an Islamic Digital Divide within the As’adiyah Community [Wahyuddin Halim]
  4. “Sedekaholics” and Islamic In(Equalities) in Indonesia [Fatimah Husein]
  5. Digital Divide: Bypassing Traditional Ulama? [Eva F. Nisa]
  6. Digital and Islamic Divides: Competing Strategies among Muslim Groups in Attracting Young Followers Through (Social) Media [M. Adlin Sila]
  7. Looking through class: or to what extent is Islamic online religiosity a middle-class phenomenon in Indonesia?  [Martin Slama]
  8. Addressing the Digital Divide among Muslim Communities in Bandung [Dayana Parvanova]