Urban Halal Landscapes

  • Johan Fischer
Part of the Contemporary Anthropology of Religion book series (CAR)


This chapter is an exploration of the spaces or landscapes in which middle-class Malays in London consume halal. Halal and halal certification, discussed in the previous chapter, have much to do with the context in which halal is displayed and sold: it is not just a matter of “halalness” as an intrinsic quality that complies with a particular religious injunction. I analyze the proliferation of halal in London as an urban form of space making or landscaping. As halal is delocalized and globalized as a religious market, it moves frontiers and contributes to new forms of space making. Thus, halal is being lifted out of its base in halal butcher shops into public space, advertisements, and hypermarkets. Although Muslim space making in general has been explored in a growing body of literature (Gottreich 2007; O’Meara 2007), the spatial contexts of producing, displaying, selling, and shopping for halal have received modest attention. The central argument is that shopping for halal cannot be divorced from the context in which it is practiced. Hence, the spatial context of food consumption as practice may be just as significant as the intrinsic qualities of the food and its ingredients. Halal is shaped not only by aesthetics and religious self-understanding but also by much more mundane understandings and practices.


Grocery Store Halal Food Islamic Revivalism Religious Market Halal Meat 
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© Johan Fischer 2011

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  • Johan Fischer

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