Accepted paper:

Building bridges and blocking paths through food; negotiating the presence of pig feet (trotter) among traders and interreligious practitioners in Madina market, Accra


Rashida Alhassan Adum-Atta (Leiden University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper presents Pig feet (trotter) as a marker of interreligious boundary at the Madina Market in Accra

Paper long abstract:

Food is an important element in Madina Zongo, people eat together; and sometimes visit the same market space to either buy food ingredients or already prepared food. This paper highlights how people negotiate their ways through so-called contaminated ingredients/food item and how some ingredients provoke some embodied sensational feelings. I particularly focus on pig feet (trotter) as a marker of interreligious boundary. Pig feet (trotter) predominantly imported to Ghana from Europe is evidently displayed in most markets in the city. My focus here is to present the market space beyond a locus of competition but to explore the roles and sensitivities of its occupants and the people who visit it and how they negotiate their entangled circumstances. Christians, Muslims and to a lesser extent Traditional African practitioners in Madina market share a common space in which they bargain their religious identities and sensitivities. In other words, the presence of ingredients like the pig feet (trotter) plays a key role in the inclusion and exclusion process that results in the "dietary boundaries" which are influenced by religious identities. I use Mary Douglas's work "purity and danger" as a guide as I interact and observe how pig feet (trotter) serves as a medium in boundary-maintaining mechanism among members of the market space and the people who visit the market to buy other ingredients

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Entanglements of informality and religion in African cities