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Hanieh, Adam (2019) 'Variegated Finance Capital and the Political Economy of Islamic Banking in the Gulf.' New Political Economy, 25 (4). pp. 572-589.

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The significant expansion of Islamic Finance (IF) over recent years provides a useful vantage point for examining the variegated nature of global finance. Nonetheless, within the substantial political economy literature on IF, there has been surprisingly little reflection on the concrete forms of class and capital accumulation underlying IF in particular national contexts. Against a methodological tendency to divorce Islamic financial markets from the wider circuit of capital, this article employs a Marxian conception of ‘finance capital’ to examine the class composition of Islamic banking in the six Arab states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The core argument is that the expansion of GCC Islamic financial markets reflects the growth of a distinct class-fraction of privately-controlled finance capital in the Gulf. The specificity of this process in the Gulf involves a set of privately-controlled conglomerates whose interests are uniquely interlocked with the ownership of Islamic banks but extend beyond these to a range of other moments of capital accumulation – most prominently those connected to the transformation of the built environment. These class relations differ from conventional banking in the Gulf, and highlight the importance of critical political economy in developing alternative interpretations to the dominant, industry-linked literature.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Islamic Finance, finance capital, Gulf Cooperation Council, class formation
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Development Studies
ISSN: 13563467
Copyright Statement: © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in New Political Economy on 14 May 2019, available online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 14 May 2019 11:27

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