Muslim consumption and anti-consumption in Malaysia


  • Johan Fischer



Malaysia, Muslims, consumption, anti-comsumption


The purpose of this article is to further our understanding of the transformation of Muslim consumption and anti-consumption by an empirical case study of Malaysia. Much current anti-consumerist and anti-globalization discourse identifies boycotting as an immensely powerful force. I argue that insufficient attention has been paid to the micro-social logics of modern forms of religious consumption and anticonsumption in particular historical/national settings and that these issues should be explored in the interfaces between Islam, state and market. This article examines the political and cultural effects of the Islamic opposition’s call to boycott US goods in Malaysia in the wake of 9/11 that coincided with a forceful stress on promoting modern halal (in Arabic halal literally means ‘permissible or ‘lawful’) products and services. This article argues that from around that time, Muslim consumption in Malaysia became the subject of increasing consumer activism and I explore how Malaysian federal state institutions, Islamic organizations and consumers respond to and are affected by calls to boycott (anti-consumption) and boycott (consumption) a range of products. More specifically, this article examines the above issues building on ethnography from fieldwork with Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM), which is an organization that protects the interests of Muslim consumers and entrepreneurs, as well as Malay Muslim middle-class informants.

Author Biography

Johan Fischer

Johan Fischer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Society and Globalization, Roskilde University, Denmark. His work focuses on modern religion and consumer culture in Southeast Asia and Europe. More specifically, Johan explores the interfaces between class, consumption, market relations, Islam and the state in a globalized world. He is the author of Proper Islamic Consumption: Shopping among the Malays in Modern Malaysia (NIAS Press 2008), The Halal Frontier: Muslim Consumers in a Globalized Market (Palgrave Macmillan 2011), Islam, Standards, and Technoscience: In Global Halal Zones (Routledge 2015), the co-edited volume Halal Matters: Islam, Politics and Markets in Global Perspective (Routledge 2015) and the co-authored Between Religion, Regulation and Consumption: Globalising Kosher and Halal Markets (Manchester University Press 2016) as well as numerous articles in journals and edited volumes.




How to Cite

Fischer, J. (2017). Muslim consumption and anti-consumption in Malaysia. Scandinavian Journal of Islamic Studies, 9(2), 68–87.