Muslim Women's Quest for Justice: Gender, Law and Activism in India. By Mengia Hong‐Tschalaer. New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Date01 September 2018
Published date01 September 2018
about the fate and influence of these moderate Islamic currents in
Indonesia (172).
The book positions itself as part of Southeast Asian Studies
and Asian Law and does not engage with methodological and the-
oretical issues in the field of sociolegal studies. The structure of
the volume, however, is a smart sociolegal work—“integrating and
organizing traditional forms of knowledge, skill, and experience
in a new and original fashion” (Banakar and Travers 2005: 6) and
combining bottom-up and top-down approaches to law with the
aim to increase our knowledge about how law works in contexts
where Islamic norms are dominant. It shows us the way that
Indonesia has adopted religious freedom into the Constitution
and how this, together with interpretations by courts, politicians,
and local governments, has turned freedom of religion into sym-
bolic law: lacking legal force. Despite the gloomy image presented
in the work, I believe that the constitutional freedom of religion
will remain a strong symbol to those Indonesians who continue to
oppose the intolerant policies of their government.
Banakar, Reza, & Max Travers (2005) Theory and Method in Socio-legal Research. Oxford
and Portland: Hart Publishing.
Feillard, Andre
´e, & Nelly van Doorn-Harder (2013) “A New Generation of Feminists
Within TraditionalIslam: An Indonesian e xception,”in, Burhanudin, Jajat, Dijk, &
Kees van, eds., Islam in Indonesia: contrasting images and interpretations. Amsterdam:
Amsterdam Univ.Press. 139–59.
Muslim Women’s Quest for Justice: Gender, Law and Activism in India. By
Mengia Hong-Tschalaer. New Delhi: Cambridge University
Press, 2017.
Reviewed by Kalindi Kokal, Department of Law and Anthropology,
Max Plank Institute of Social Anthropology, Halle (Saale), Germany.
Muslim Women’s Quest for Justice is a fine illustration of a realization-
focused understanding of justice, a concept that Amartya Sen elab-
orates in The Idea of Justice. Centered on the core themes of
“agency” and “plurality,” the prime contribution of Tschalaer’s
book is that it shows how the pursuit for justice is inextricably tied
Book Reviews 823

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