Universitas Indonesia Conferences, The 8th International Symposium of Journal Antropologi Indonesia

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‘Coronial’ Investors, Pandemics crisis, and Islam: Negotiating moral anxiety in the Indonesian stock market
Mujtaba Hamdi

Last modified: 2022-05-31


During Covid-19 pandemic crises, while global economics unprecedentedly slowed down, Indonesia's stock market was flooded with the so-called “coronial investors”, referring to millennials and inexperienced young people who incidentally plunged themselves into the stock market during the Coronavirus crisis. Within this new situation, Muslims stock traders and investors were trying to engage with the market while struggling to overcome their unfamiliarity with the moral logics of the market. While the conventional market ideology sees price volatility and market uncertainty as a normal consequence of supply and demands dynamics, Islam consider them as a moral problem that in many ways fall into the category of gambling strictly forbidden in Islam.

Grounding on the recent literature on the anthropology of finance (Ortiz and Keith 2014, Maurer 2006), the growing ethnographic studies on stock markets (Ho 2009, Souleles 2019, Leins 2018, Preda 2017) and renewed anthropological reflection on morality of the market (Rudnyckyj and Osella 2017), this paper will chart a localized response to the global financial market dynamics in a time of the pandemics. Drawing specifically upon participatory observation and digital involvement with Muslim trading and investing communities, this presentation will focus on how Muslim traders and investors encounter and respond the moral logics of the stock market and renegotiate their religious moral frame to incorporate paradoxes, instability and unknown territories into more reconizable world. In some way, for instances, Muslim traders and investors views their involvement in the stock market as unresolved moral position which could be balanced by a socially virtous action such as sadaqah (donation). In other ways, they treat ‘ilm (knowledge) as a critical criteria to differentiate gambling and trading in the stock market, which would drive them to learn “technical analysis” and “fundamental analysis” popularly known in the finance and investing communities.

Keywords: finance; stock trading; Islam; market morality


Hart, K. and Ortiz, H., 2014. The anthropology of money and finance: between ethnography and world history. Annual Review of Anthropology, 43, pp.465-482.

Ho, K., 2009. Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street. Duke University Press.

Leins, S., 2018. Stories of Capitalism: Inside the Role of Financial Analysts. University of Chicago Press.

Maurer, B., 2006. The anthropology of money. Annu. Rev. Anthropol.35, pp.15-36.

Preda, A., 2017, Noise: Living and Trading in Electronic Finance. University of Chicago Press.

Rudnyckyj, D. and Osella, F. eds., 2017. Religion and the Morality of the Market. Cambridge University Press.

Souleles, D.S., 2019. Songs of profit, songs of loss: Private equity, wealth, and inequality. U of Nebraska Press.

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