Islamist Newspeak: The Use of Arabic Terms as a Form of Cultural Hegemony in Political Communication by Muslim Fundamentalist Groups in Indonesia

Adam Fenton, Lestari Nurhajati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
96 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Within Indonesian contemporary political discourse, fundamentalist groups are implementing a linguistic manipulation of Arabic terminology in order to influence the thinking of wider public. Prolific use of Arabic terminology in religious and political discourse is employed by such groups to baffle the thinking of impressionable audience. This study examines the use of Arabic terms by two Islamist groups in Indonesia, namely the Islamic Defenders Front (Front Pembela Islam/FPI) and Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI). It uses indepth interviews with leaders of those organizations combined with a critical discourse analysis approach. It examines the use of three key Arabic terms—‘jihad’ ‘khilafah’ and ‘habib’—to illustrate how the meaning of those words has been distorted compared with their generally accepted Indonesian definitions.
The paper theorizes that this practice conforms to Gramscian notions of cultural hegemony, that a ruling elite manufactures the consent, loyalty and discipline of a mass of followers to uncritically conform to the preferred thought of the hegemony
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-308
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Indonesian Islam
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgment of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.

Keywords

  • Arabic
  • terminology
  • political communication
  • cultural hegemony
  • fundamentalist groups

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