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Contemporary Islamic Finance: Innovations, Applications and Best Practices by Karen Hunt-Ahmed

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CHAPTER 4

Globalization and Islamic Finance

Flows and Consciousness

KAREN HUNT-AHMED

President, Chicago Islamic Microfinance Project and Lecturer, DePaul University

Islamic finance was made possible by the conditions of globalization. Globalization is an expansive topic and one that has different meanings in different contexts. It has been explored occasionally on a macro level in the context of Islamic finance (cf. Warde 2010 and Askari, Iqbal, and Mirakhor 2010) but rarely in the context of the individuals who work in the industry (see, for example, Hunt-Ahmed 2012, forthcoming). This chapter discusses the concepts of global flows and global consciousness to provide an overview of what the term globalization means vis-à-vis the industry of Islamic finance. It then discusses ways in which practitioners who interact with global conditions render Islamic finance a place that is at once created by individuals in search of a mediating environment and a tool through which its practitioners can negotiate relationships in a globalized world.

I use the term globalization as a heuristic model for thinking about industry and how the people I have interviewed experience their world through contact with Islamic finance. Both the industry's rhetoric and its participants place themselves at the crossroads between capitalist business practices and a transnational Muslim identity. I have found two sets of ideas to be particularly helpful in thinking about what aspects of globalization are most ...

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