The June issue of Pacific Affairs is a special issue titled, “Religion, Business, and Contestation in Malaysia and Singapore.”
In the introduction to the special issue, authors Edmund Gomez, Robert Hunt, and John Roxborogh note how the resurgence of religious movements in different regions of the world has been linked to the collapse of secular ideologies and movements; long-running economic, social, and political crises associated with global economic change; and problems of wars and large-scale migration. They argue that where the state in its modern and secular guise, and with an emphasis on neoliberal forms of development, has failed to deliver physical security, welfare provisioning or a sense of national purpose and belonging, religious-based groups have enjoyed a revival as they have rushed in to fill the gaps. The resilience of these religious institutions, their ingenuity in substituting for state services and their effectiveness in providing members with a sense of dignity and purpose render them indispensable to the communities they serve. The authors open the special issue by introducing the papers that will deal with these matters through a focus on new groups within Christianity and Islam in Southeast Asia, more specifically Malaysia and Singapore.
In the following article, “Spirituality as an Integral Part of Islamic Business: The Case of Global Ikhwan,” author Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid looks at how Global Ikhwan, a Malaysian-based transnational commercial entity, has managed to weather challenges to its continued existence as a force to be reckoned with in the political economy of the Muslim world by integrating Sufi principles with business practices.
This is followed by a co-authored piece, “Islamic Banking and Finance: Sacred Alignment, Strategic Alliances.” Here authors Maznah Binti Mohamad and Johan Saravanamuttu present a Malaysian case study of Islamic Banking and Finance (IBF). They argue that within a neo-liberal order, IBF is reshaping the meaning of religion through a post-secular worldview, playing an important role in an emergent multipolar financial and regulatory global space while creating new alliances of a governing class. The latter has a capacity for eschewing the encumbrances of older religious structures and edifices while being dependent on religion for its legitimacy.
Turning to Christianity, the following article by Terence Chong, “Megachurches in Singapore: The Faith of an Emergent Middle Class,” examines the rise of independent Pentecostal megachurches in Singapore. It argues that megachurches have a converging point for class-transcending individuals who have a strong sense of agency; offer a strong nexus between spirituality with market logic; and have learned to minister to the needy and disadvantaged in ways that avoid conflict with the state while utilising trans-nationalizing networks and cells groups to combine global connectivity with local relevance amongst distinct groups of Singapore society.
Closing out this special issue, in “‘Do Business till He comes’: The Business of Housing God in Singapore Megachurches,” authors Jeaney Yip and Susan Ainsworth examine how mega-churches have been criticized in Western media for actively engaging in commercial activities and preaching a “prosperity gospel” that emphasizes material success as a sign of religious blessing. While North American in origin, megachurches have spread throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Through an analysis of building projects, this paper explores how two megachurches in Singapore combine religion and business in ways that reflect the unique characteristics of this context.
Pacific Affairs is an interdisciplinary journal committed to advancing empirical and conceptual knowledge in the field of Asia Pacific-focussed area studies. We view area studies as combining serious commitment to original research on specific regions and countries in Asia and the Pacific with insights and analytical rigour derived from multiple disciplines and various theoretical perspectives.
Impact Factor Score: .562 (22 out of 65 Area Studies journals) – cites in 2014 to articles published in 2012 and 2013.
5-Year Impact Factor Score: 0.855 (16 out of 65 Area Studies journals) – cites in 2014 to articles published from 2009 to 2013
Immediacy Index Score: 0.087 (23 out of 65 Area Studies journals) – cites in 2014 of articles published in 2014
Article Influence® Score: 0.451 (17 out of 65 Area Studies journals)
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Note: We maintain a sustained and in-depth intellectual and administrative interest in the various debates concerning the uses, meanings, and limits of bibliometric indexes such as the annual JCR reports. We list the information above not as an unthinking endorsement of the use of these indexes to define notions of “quality,” but as information that forms part of a larger set of ongoing attempts to map the patterns and understand the meanings of scholarly communications in the digital age. Although Pacific Affairs embraces careful and contextualized use of all bibliometric data, our view is that the 5-Year Impact Factor (regardless of our absolute and/or relative numbers) is likely the most significant measure, given that we aspire to publish articles that based on the depth of empirical research and the clarity of the arguments will ideally retain their relevance for at least five years after their publication.
Pacific Affairs is a peer-reviewed, independent, and interdisciplinary scholarly journal focussing on important current political, economic and social issues throughout Asia and the Pacific. Each issue contains approximately five new articles and 40-45 book reviews. Published continuously since 1928 under the same name, Pacific Affairs has been located on the beautiful campus of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, since 1961. The journal is committed to providing to the scholarly community and the world at large high quality research on Asia and the Pacific that takes readers beyond the headlines and across multiple disciplines.
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