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Resetting Neoliberal Values: Lawmaking in Malaysia's Islamic Finance

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jane Pollard



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


In economic geography and cognate disciplines, a good deal of attention has been paid to the roles of investors, lenders, analysts, advisors, actuaries, and other skilled financial professionals in forming and reproducing financial and other markets. Relatively neglected, by contrast, is the work of lawyers, judges and other legal agents. This article redresses this imbalance by making two contributions. First, we highlight the role of legal labor in financial market formation in Malaysia, specifically the role of Shariah jurists and translators in institutionalizing the (re)production of Islamic values in market life. Second, drawing on cases of financial litigation and interviews with Shariah scholars, we argue that Malaysia’s strategy to develop its Islamic financial governance institutions, to bolster its international stature and extend the regional, national and international reach and mobility of its Islamic values, is intrinsically geographical in nature. The strategy involves a rescaling and consolidation of legal spaces and institutions - including the Central Bank, the juridical system, Islamic universities, research think-tanks, and their Shariah bureaucrats and professionals - to facilitate the geographical mobility of Malaysian sharia expertise to otherwise secular legal spaces. Yet, we argue that this strategy has not led to a retreat from neoliberal influence but rather a re-ordering of market values and norms that collateralizes moral risks in addition to market risks.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Poon J, Pollard J, Chow YW

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Annals of the American Association of Geographers

Year: 2018

Volume: 108

Issue: 5

Pages: 1442-1456

Online publication date: 29/03/2018

Acceptance date: 01/12/2017

Date deposited: 30/01/2018

ISSN (print): 2469-4452

ISSN (electronic): 2469-4460

Publisher: Taylor & Francis


DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2018.1439723


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