The Introduction frames the book in terms of the anthropology of psychology and it within theoretical conversations concerning religious authority, Muslim subjectivity, and the cultural politics of public piety. It argues that Aa Gym garnered religious authority through adept use of media and the deliberate cultivation of his personal brand in the religious marketplace of modernity. His authority was marked by distinctive affective and economic relationships between preacher-producer and consuming devotees. It also argues that Islamic self-help psychology promotes models of personhood that are commensurate with, but cannot be reduced to, neoliberal logics of self-enterprise and democratic notions of civic virtue. Aa Gym also leveraged his public pulpit into political voice in an attempt to discipline state actors during the drafting of controversial anti-pornography legislation. The Introduction argues that scholarly understandings of political Islam must focus on popular culture, not simply electoral politics and formal institutions.
Known across the Indonesian archipelago as a shrewd entrepreneur, doting husband, and virtuous family man, Gymnastiar legitimated his claim to religious authority through his ability to market himself as the embodiment of Islamic virtue. This chapter///////