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Cyber-activism and the Islamic Salafi movement in Indonesia

Iqbal, Asep Muhamad (2017) Cyber-activism and the Islamic Salafi movement in Indonesia. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Prevailing studies of Islamic activism and the internet tend to evaluate the significance (or insignificance) of the internet for an Islamic movement as a unified whole, ignoring intra-movement heterogeneity and internal dynamics. By contrast, this study offers a pluralistic vision of Islamic activism, identifying separate streams or groups of a particular theological tradition within Islam. It therefore analyses the relevance of the internet for such Islamic groups in a more nuanced and variegated manner. To this end, drawing on resource mobilization theory, it analyses internet use by the Salafi movement with a specific focus of Salafists in Indonesia. It identifies resource inequality among different Salafi groups as accounting for intra-movement difference and the varied significance of the internet for groups within the Salafi movement. The study demonstrates that although each Salafi group adopted the internet as a new important resource for their social, religious, and organizational interests, groups did not actually mobilize it for this purpose in similar ways or degrees. The resource-poor Salafi groups tended to mobilize the internet more actively than the resource-rich ones. Different access to resources among Salafi groups contributed to these different levels of actual mobilization of the internet by the Salafi groups. Accordingly, the significance of the internet is not uniform across the Salafi movement in Indonesia. Rather, each Salafi group’s use of the internet was influenced by offline factors and particularly access to other organizational resources. Therefore, this study argues that the significance of the internet for Islamic movements is not uniform, but rather diverges due to intra-movement complexities and dynamics including internal fragmentation and the differential state of intra-movement organizational resources. The significance of the internet as a resource for an Islamic movement thus varies enormously across intra-movement factions or groups depending on access to other resources.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Arts
Supervisor(s): Hill, David and Rodan, Garry
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