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Accepted Paper:

Islamic food urban practices: Mapping halal economies in Lisbon  


Alina I Esteves (University of Lisbon)
Jennifer McGarrigle (University of Lisbon)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores Islamic urban food practices in Lisbon through an analysis of the spatiality of halal in the city. Findings contrast the emplaced practices of halal consumption central to community and identity formation with the transnational reach of diaspora ties and global halal production.

Paper long abstract:

Modern halal markets are increasingly complex and recent studies have drawn attention to the political economy of halal as well as its social and cultural dynamics (Bergeaud-Blackler, Fischer and Lever, 2016). In a post-colonial and post-immigration context, the recent growth and diversification of the traditionally small-sized communities of Muslim confession in Lisbon has created new patterns of spatial appropriation, consumption, trade and production in the city. In their main areas of settlement, this has given visibility to new and expanding retail commerce where halal butchers assume particular relevance. Drawing on an analysis of the spatiality of halal in the city and qualitative fieldwork with producers, retailers, religious community leaders and consumers, this paper explores Islamic urban food practices. Findings reveal that localized practices of halal consumption are central to community and identity formation and place making. Affordability and differential spatial accessibility to shops are pushing forward changes in the halal meat market (Bergaud-Blackler Fischer and Lever, 2016) resulting in the emergence of alternative economies such as raising animals on informal suburban homesteads. Moreover, the geography of halal expands beyond the city and is embedded in global commodity chains and links with the wider diaspora revealing the ways in which, "… transnational networks are maintained, negotiated, and sustained in everyday urban life …" (Brickell and Datta, 2011: 3).

Panel MA01a
Mapping the Edible City: Making visible communities and food spaces in the city