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Islam, Law, and Equality in Indonesia: An Anthropology of Public Reasoning Paperback – May 29, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (May 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521531896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521531894
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,480,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


'... John Bowen has presented one of the most comprehensive studies of the workings of legal pluralism in Indonesia ... impressive. This is indeed a book that should be read by all interested in the origins, processes and consequences of legal pluralism in Indonesia and the problems of gender equality and justice.' Asian Anthropology

'The latest volume of Bowen's Gayo trilogy is superb anthropology.' Rezensionen

Book Description

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 law. Here, John Bowen explores this struggle through archival and ethnographic research and through interviews with national religious and legal figures. The book speaks to debates in any society where people struggle to live together with deep differences in values and ways of life. It will be welcomed by scholars and students across the social sciences.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Garret J. Smith on September 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
I had to read this book for a class entitled "Islam in the Modern World". It was the first time the teacher had used this book for the course and even she apologized for the difficulty of the text.

First of all - I rated this book only three stars to average out the following points:

-The information and research within easily merits five stars - there's likely no better book that would top this particularly specific subject matter (it's been printed more than one time - a testament to its relevance and value in academia)
-It's SO BORING and DRY! And for it's less-than-accessible presentation (particularly to the lay-reader) I give this book one or two stars. So I averaged out my review to three stars.

The text itself is very well written and it is quite clear that the author, John Bowen, knows the subject matter extensively. He conducted thorough and years-long research in Indonesia and offers not his opinion about the title of the book but rather reports his findings instead.

Be prepared for an exhausting, dry and boring read - it is what it is. The book is written by a scholar FOR scholars - this is no casual read if you simply have an interest in the way Islam is practiced in Indonesia.

In a nutshell, Bowen explains the contrasting dichotomy between Islamic law and civil law in Indonesia. From inheritance to marriage and divorce Bowen's book gives an broad account of how many aspects of a Muslim's life in Indonesia can prove difficult when determining the most appropriate and proper response to a situation - situations that represent the current times and not the times of the Qur'an fourteen centuries ago.

It's informative but so boring to read - read this only if you must or absolutely need to know the subject matter of the title for whatever reason. This is why I gave it only three stars.
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