Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 71232
Affinity between Sociology and Islamic Economy: An Inquiry into the Possibilities of Social Constructivism

Authors: Hideki Kitamura

Abstract:

Since Islamic banking has broadly started in the late 1970s, Islamic economy has been paid much attention by both academia and the business world. However, despite abundant studies, descriptive exploration of practices of Islamic economy from a sociological/anthropological perspective is underrepresented, and most are basically designed for evaluating current practice or proposing ideal types of Islamic economy in accordance with their religious conviction. Overall, their interest is not paid to actors of Islamic economy such as practitioner’s decision-making and thought, while sociological/anthropological studies on Muslim’s religious life can be observed well. Herein, the paper aims to look into the possibilities of sociology/anthropology for exploration of the role of actors of Islamic economy, by revisiting the benefit of sociological/anthropological studies on the religion of Islam and its adaptability to the research on Islamic economy. The paper suggests that practices of Islamic economy can be assumed as results of practitioner’s dilemma between Islamic ideals and market realities in each society, by applying the perspective of social constructivism. The paper then proposes focusing on the human agency of practitioners in translating Islamic principles into economic behavior, thereby enabling a more descriptive inquiry into how Islamic economy is produced and operated.

Keywords: Islamic economy, economic sociology/anthropology, human agency, social constructivism

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