Blood and the City

Animal Representations and Urban (Dis)orders during the ‘Feast of the Sacrifice’ in Istanbul and Khartoum

in Anthropology of the Middle East
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Abstract

Based on comparative fieldwork studies of the Muslim ‘Feast of the Sacrifice’, this article questions the places, shapes and stakes of ritual animal death in the urban space. The examples of Istanbul (Turkey) and Khartoum (Sudan) illustrate different but comparable perceptions, practices and management of a ritual event simultaneously associated with religious traditions and confronted with deep transformations in urbanised and globalised societies. Between ritual normalcy and controversial practice, sacrifice in the city is not reducible to a religious matter but addresses at once spatial, social and cultural issues, informed by economic and political stakes. Through a ritual performance and its manifold aspects, the article explores the multiple and evolving representations of the place and role of animals (and their death) in an urban context.

Contributor Notes

Alice Franck, Assistant Professor in Geography at University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and coordinator of CEDEJ Khartoum (MAEDI-USR 3123), works mainly in Sudan and more specifically in Khartoum. Her research focuses on urban agriculture and moves in two directions: land-use dynamics and land conflicts associated to agricultural land, and livestock markets and exportations, including breeding in the city. E-mail: alicefranck@yahoo.fr

Jean Gardin, Assistant Professor in Geography at University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, and researcher at LADYSS (CNRS 7533), works on political geography of the environment, in Tunisia (PhD on the political construction of forests and forestry, 2004), south-east Europe (crossborder protected areas and protected species) and on hi-tech artefacts (RFID chips) in the management of environment and agriculture. He managed the ‘Mort animale rituelle et profane’ research project (2014−2015). E-mail: Jean.Gardin@univ-paris1.fr

Olivier Givre, Assistant Professor in Social Anthropology at University Lumière-Lyon 2 and researcher at EVS (Environnement, Ville, Société, CNRS 5600), works mainly on ritual and religious dynamics, heritage and memory processes, and border/crossborder issues in European societies. He did his PhD on kurban (sacrifice) in the Balkans (2006) and is presently working on globalised religious moral economies, including the transformations of Muslim sacrifice. E-mail: olivier.givre1@univ-lyon2.fr

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