IAS Working Paper Ageing and Malay Women in Brunei

IAS Working Paper No. 48


This paper examines woman (gender), Muslim (Orient) and elderly (age) from a postcolonial perspective. It highlights the relevance of spirituality to ageing, which is currently under-studied in sociology. Ten Brunei Malay Muslim women aged 60 – 76 were interviewed, with the aid of photo-elicitation method, about their experience of ageing. All interviewees perceive ageing as a gift from God and should be embraced wholeheartedly but this is not necessarily translated into practice. Nonetheless, spirituality remains prominent and heightened as one grows older. This study also demonstrated how these women’s ageing experience is mediated by structural influences. They include ongoing Islamisation discourse, strong Malay cultural and Islamic values, interdependence of family structure (social expectation of filial piety) and social rapport and network.  Their experiences reveal a nuance understanding and diverse narratives of ageing. These findings open up new possibilities of understanding ageing in non-Western contexts.


Malay, ageing women, postcolonial, spirituality, Brunei, Islam


Izzati Jaidin is an alumnus of Universiti Brunei Darussalam, graduated with BA in Sociology-Anthropology in 2015. She completed her postgraduate studies (MA Culture, Society and Globalisation) at University of York in United Kingdom in 2016. This paper is part of her M.A. dissertation.

Contact: izzati.jaidin@gmail.com

Editorial Board of the Working Paper Series:

Professor Lian Kwen Fee, Institute of Asian Studies, Universiti Brunei Darussalam.

Dr. F. Merlin Franco, Institute of Asian Studies, Universiti Brunei Darussalam.

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