In today’s globalized world, halal (meaning ‘permissible’ or ‘lawful’) is about more than food. Politics, power and ethics all play a role in the halal industry in setting new standards for production, trade, consumption and regulation. The question of how modern halal markets are constituted is increasingly important and complex. Written from a unique interdisciplinary global perspective, this book demonstrates that as the market for halal products and services is expanding and standardizing, it is also fraught with political, social and economic contestation and difference. The discussion is illustrated by rich ethnographic case studies from a range of contexts, and consideration is given to both Muslim majority and minority societies. Halal Matters will be of interest to students and scholars working across the humanities and social sciences, including anthropology, sociology and religious studies.
"Easily the most authoritative study of the subject, this collection of essays on halal, an ostensibly ritual designation and practice, allows us to see how it becomes the crucial category by which Muslim subjects and markets around the world are both created and understood."
- Faisal Devji, University of Oxford, UK
"We are reminded on an almost daily basis of the enormous depth of misunderstanding about Islam that seems endemic in Europe and North America. In addressing the politics and pragmatics of halal assemblages in a global context, Halal Matters shines like a small light amidst this vast darkness of misperception. The editors of this volume are to be commended for attending to the complexity and nuance that comprises contemporary halal markets, the political projects of the states that authorize them, and the concerns of the Muslim consumers that they interpellate. Hopefully, this volume will make a small step toward fulfilling the values of tolerance, equality, and freedom that liberal societies purport to uphold."
- Daromir Rudnyckyj, University of Victoria, Canada
"The call by Muslims to investigate and certify products and practices formally, and subsequently then label them as Halal has given rise to a new cultural phenomenon - which is on the increase in Muslim minority and majority geographies across the globe. This book makes a vital contribution, offering a critical perspective, rooted in the social sciences, that addresses current issues of contestation and potential growth areas."
- Jonathan A.J. Wilson, University of Greenwich, UK
"What Halal Matters offers its readers are perceptive insights into an important aspect of Muslim modernity […] The twelve chapters pursue a mix of methodological approaches and explore halal practices and reasoning in turn by following ‘the people,’ ‘the thing’, and ‘the metaphor’. This breadth, together with its broad geographical sweep, contributes to the success of the collection as a compelling sketch of contemporary ‘halal matters’.”
- Heiko Henkel, University of Copenhagen, Denmark (in Anthropos)
"The book succeeds in shedding light on the major social and cultural dynamics of halal, while keeping the big political picture on stage, producing a comprehensive, yet succinct political economy of global halal. It is highly recommended for students and scholars of anthropology as well as sociologists, political scientists, Islamicists and economists." - Abdessamad Belhaj, Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium (in Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations)
1. Introduction: Modern halal markets (Florence Bergeaud-Blackler, Johan Fischer and John Lever) 2. Re-imagining Malaysia: A postliberal halal strategy? (John Lever) 3. From an implicit to an explicit understanding: new definitions of halal in Turkey (John Lever and Haluk Anil) 4. Remembering the spirit of halal: An Iranian perspective (Maryam Attar, Khalil Lohi and John Lever) 5. Domestic cooking in Marrakech’s medina (Katharina Graff) 6. Islamizing foods (Florence Bergeaud-Blackler) 7. The halal certification market in Europe and in the World: a first panorama (Florence Bergeaud-Blackler) 8. Green Halal: Looking for ethical choices (Manon Istasse) 9. Halal, diaspora and the secular in London (Johan Fischer) 10. Muslim food consumption in China: Between qingzhen and halal. (Yukari Sai and Johan Fischer) 11. The political economy of Islamic markets: Halal training in Singapore (Johan Fischer) 12. Who owns halal? International initiatives of halal food regulations (Florence Bergeaud-Blackler)