Gender, Malayness and the Ummah: Cultural Consumption and Malay-Muslim Identity

Dahlia Martin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Anxieties over the position of Malay identity have often spilled over into locally-produced popular materials. Such anxieties are reflected particularly in portrayals of Malay-Muslim womanhood. Malay-Muslim women are a significant target audience for these concerns, specifically in their assumedly natural roles as nurturers of a family unit. Despite this focus on Malay-Muslim women, however, theirs is a voice that is rarely heard as Malaysia advances towards an Islamic modernity. This article examines how urban Malay-Muslim women negotiate these tensions in their consumption and interpretation of local popular culture. Borrowing from Michel de Certeau's framework on everyday resistance, this article argues that these practices are in turn indicative of the interviewees' desire to be a part of a forward-looking Islamic modernity narrative and global community or ummah, and ultimately leave behind anxieties over Malay identity by choosing to construct their subjectivity in religious rather than ethnic terms.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)403-421
    Number of pages19
    JournalAsian Studies Review
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


    • ethnicity
    • film
    • gender
    • Islam
    • Malays
    • Malaysia
    • postcolonialism


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