Religious Care and Moral Economy amidst COVID-19

Mimetic Consumption, Divine Vaccine and Disciplinary Trust in Brunei Darussalam

In: Social Sciences and Missions
Jérémy Jammes Sciences Po Lyon France Lyon

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Chang-Yau Hoon University of Brunei Darussalam Brunei Darussalam Bandar Seri Begawan

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After Independence in 1984, the Sultanate of Brunei declared Melayu Islam Beraja (MIB) as the official state ideology. Translated as “Malay Islamic Monarchy,” this ideology is primarily interpreted through the Islamic lens and encompasses all sectors of the society. Facing the COVID-19 crisis, the government took quick and Shari’a-driven measures to contain the further import and propagation of the virus. How did faith intertwine with healthcare policy amidst COVID-19? Our ethnographic survey traces the origin of the virus in the country and the major reactions of the Islamic government in time of emergency. This archaeology of COVID-19 in the Sultanate should not ignore both the disciplinary trust in place in Brunei as well as individual reactions and ways to rely on religious materials (such as self-care healing practices, expressions of piety or calamity-releasing prayers) to eradicate the virus or protect people from it.

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