Edited by Özlem Sandıkcı and Gillian Rice
Chapter 4: Investment, Fashion and Markets in the Muslim World
Alexandru Balasescu* INTRODUCTION When I first set out to write this chapter, the questions that came into my mind were: Why talk about marketing that is specifically Islamic? Can marketing – an activity that is economic by nature – be linked in any meaningful way with a religious identity? And who needs Islamic marketing anyway? Involuntarily this made me think of an experience that happened in 2001 while pursuing my PhD studies at the University of California in Irvine. The summer promised to be a long one, and I proposed to the committee of the School of Social Sciences to teach a summer course on ‘Muslims in Europe’. My proposition was politely rejected, interest on that subject matter was little, if any, I was told . . . I took a summer job at the library and set out to do my preparatory fieldwork later that summer in, of all places, Paris – to study the question of the Islamic headscarf and fashion industry. I flew to Paris on 9 September 2001 and flew back three weeks later to a radically changed United States. So changed that a letter was waiting in my departmental mailbox asking me equally politely if I would like to teach my proposed class on Muslims in Europe in the spring quarter. I gladly accepted and I found, not unexpectedly, students from various backgrounds, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the class. I even received an invitation from a Saudi-American student to take an air trip across Southern California in his small mono-engine plane...
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