Sociology

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Religion, regulation, consumption

Globalising kosher and halal markets

John Lever and Johan Fischer

Over the last two decades, global demand for kosher products has been growing steadily, and many non-religious consumers view kosher as a healthy food option: in the US over 60 per cent of kosher food consumption is linked to non-religious values associated with health and food quality. This book explores the emergence and expansion of global kosher and halal markets with a particular focus on the UK and Denmark. While Kosher is a Hebrew term meaning 'fit' or 'proper', halal is an Arabic word that literally means 'permissible' or 'lawful'. The book discusses the manufacture and production of kosher and halal meat (both red meat and poultry) with specific reference to audits/inspections, legislation, networking, product innovation and certification. It draws on contemporary empirical material to explore kosher and halal comparatively at different levels of the social scale, such as individual consumption, the marketplace, religious organisations and the state. It compares the major markets for kosher/halal in the UK with those in Denmark, where kosher/halal are important to smaller groups of religious consumers. Denmark plays an important role in biotechnology that is compatible with what we call kosher/halal transnational governmentality. The book explores how Jewish and Muslim consumers in the UK and Denmark understand and practice kosher consumption in their everyday lives. It also explores how 'compound practice' links eating with issues such as health and spirituality, for example, and with the influence of secularism and ritual.

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John Lever and Johan Fischer

This chapter explores the manufacture and production of kosher and halal meat in London and Manchester in the United Kingdom and also in Denmark, with specific reference to audits/inspections, legislation, networking, product innovation and certification. It explores how different certification bodies and religious authorities define kosher and halal meat through inspection and labelling during manufacture, and how authority and trust emerge in the supply chains through which meat qualifies as kosher and halal. The chapter demonstrates how the attribution of the distinguishing characteristics that qualify meat as kosher and halal starts at the abattoir and finishes only when a product is placed on the counter of a trusted retailer. It draws on interviews with kosher and halal certification bodies and other supply chain actors such as butchers and retailers, plus ethnographic work fieldwork and observations in London, Manchester and Copenhagen.

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John Lever and Johan Fischer

This chapter explores how Jewish consumers understand and practise their everyday (kosher) food consumption in two case countries: the market in the UK is not only large and expanding, but also more integrated into the global market for kosher. This is different from the case in Denmark, where there is only one kosher shop in the entire country and where the purchase of kosher products on the Internet or bringing food back from abroad has greater significance. The chapter explores to what extent they are focused on kosher as specific forms of standardised 'qualities' in their everyday lives. It explains how 'compound practice' links eating with issues such as health and spirituality, for example, and with the influence of secularism and ritual. It soon becomes clear that all the consumers are acutely aware that they living in a world where kosher markets are globalising.

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John Lever and Johan Fischer

This chapter explores Judaism/kosher and Islam/halal in the United Kingdom (UK) before moving on to Denmark. It examines important background aspects of Judaism/kosher and Islam/halal in their national contexts. The market for kosher in the UK has a long history that can be traced back to the nineteenth century. The UK is both a major market in terms of local religious production, trade, regulation and consumption as well being central to the formation of the global market. In Denmark local consumption is not essential, but production and regulation are tightly intertwined with global markets, including the UK, Manchester and London in particular. Denmark is a major exporter of both food and non-food products and thus halal is an important question for the state and companies. Halal food is widely available in Denmark and the country is a major exporter to the Muslim world.

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Introduction

Global kosher and halal markets

John Lever and Johan Fischer

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book is based on extended periods of research carried out among manufacturers, shops, Jewish/Muslim organizations, certifiers and consumers in the United Kingdom (UK) and Denmark, where kosher and halal are of particular significance. It compares the major markets for kosher/halal in the UK with those in Denmark, where kosher/halal are important to smaller groups of religious consumers. The book explores and compares kosher and halal meat production and retailing in the UK and Denmark. It looks at biotech and dairy production in manufacturing companies. The book also explores how Jewish consumers in the UK and Denmark understand and practise kosher consumption in their everyday lives.

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John Lever and Johan Fischer

This chapter explores how Muslim consumers in the UK and Denmark understand and practice halal consumption in their everyday lives. It explains how consumers make sense of buying/eating meat and non-meat products. The chapter begins by discussing consumers who are very observant about halal and move towards the less observant or more relaxed consumers. In the UK some informants argued that more attention must be paid to the links between halal in terms of food consumption and actions, while others talked about the spiritual benefits of halal consumption. One noticeable difference between UK and Danish consumers is that Muslim consumers in the UK are generally reassured about the processes of halal qualification whereas in Denmark, the market is more limited and nonstunned slaughter is banned.

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John Lever and Johan Fischer

This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on concepts discussed in preceding chapters of this book. The book focuses on the consequences of globalising kosher and halal markets. It describes the similarities and differences between kosher and halal consumption, production and regulation in different national contexts. The UK markets for kosher and halal are vast and expanding because local religious consumers traditionally support the markets for both non-stunned (kosher and halal) and stunned (halal) religiously certified meat. Religious enzyme production, supervision and certification at Novozymes in Denmark, for example, fully relies on these increasingly standardised forms, with similar developments being evident at companies such as Biocatalysts in the UK. Kosher/halal qualification in biotech is quintessentially dependent on this kind of transnational governmentality. Kosher and halal consumption remain central to debates about what religion is or ought to be for Jews and Muslims living in countries such as the UK and Denmark.

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John Lever and Johan Fischer

This chapter explores how multinational companies that are both kosher- and halal-certified understand and comply with rising requirements in relation to issues such as certification, staff policies, science and innovation. It also explores how non-meat products such as enzymes are produced and qualified as kosher and halal. The chapter discusses relevant points made in Kosher Food Production and Halal Food Production, which many companies use as handbooks for kosher and halal production. Enzymes that derive from microbial or biotech sources are acceptable as kosher, halal and vegetarian. Denmark is the leading country in the manufacturing of kosher/halal-certified enzymes globally. The chapter mainly builds on empirical data from Denmark, but also the UK, the US and Asia. Novozymes is the leading enzyme manufacturer globally. Biotechnology and genetically modified organisms (GMO) in particular are contested fields with regard to modern halal.

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Tracing the cultural legacy of Irish Catholicism

From Galway to Cloyne and beyond

Edited by: Eamon Maher and Eugene O’Brien

This book engages with the spectacular disenchantment with Catholicism in Ireland over the relatively short period of four decades. It begins with the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1979 and in particular his address to young people in Galway, where the crowd had been entertained beforehand by two of Ireland’s most celebrated clerics, Bishop Eamon Casey and Fr Michael Cleary, both of whom were engaged at the time in romantic affairs that resulted in the birth of children. It will be argued that the Pope’s visit was prompted by concern at the significant fall in vocations to priesthood and the religious life and the increasing secularism of Irish society.

The book then explores the various referenda that took place during the 1980s on divorce and abortion which, although they resulted in victories for the Church, demonstrated that their hold on the Irish public was weakening. The clerical abuse scandals of the 1990s were the tipping point for an Irish public which was generally resentful of the intrusive and repressive form of Catholicism that had been the norm in Ireland since the formation of the State in the 1920s.

Boasting an impressive array of contributors from various backgrounds and expertise, the essays in the book attempt to delineate the exact reasons for the progressive dismantling of the cultural legacy of Catholicism and the consequences this has had on Irish society. Among the contributors are Patricia Casey, Joe Cleary, Michael Cronin, Louise Fuller, Patsy McGarry, Vincent Twomey and Eamonn Wall.

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Tony Flannery

A witness in an age of witnesses

Catherine Maignant

Catherine Maignant’s chapter deals with Tony Flannery, another Irish priest whose writings and liberal media pronouncements led to a caution from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which disqualifies him from publishing work or accepting invitations to express his views at public events without seeking prior permission from Rome. Maignant argues that Flannery has all the traits of a Christian witness, in that he is a prophet who appears to be reviled by certain forces within his own Church for daring the express unpalatable truths. Notwithstanding his censure, he has continued to write and to air his sometimes-daring opinions, all the while knowing that they could eventually lead to his excommunication.