#Halal Culture on Instagram

Frontiers in Digital Humanities. 2017;4 DOI 10.3389/fdigh.2017.00021


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Journal Title: Frontiers in Digital Humanities

ISSN: 2297-2668 (Online)

Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.

LCC Subject Category: General Works: History of scholarship and learning. The humanities | Science: Mathematics: Instruments and machines: Electronic computers. Computer science

Country of publisher: Switzerland

Language of fulltext: English

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Yelena Mejova (Qatar Computing Research Institute, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Doha, Qatar)

Youcef Benkhedda (Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Informatique, Oued Smar, Algeria)

Khairani (Faculty of Economics and Business, Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia)


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 14 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Halal is a notion that applies to both objects and actions, and means permissible according to Islamic law. It may be most often associated with food and the rules of selecting, slaughtering, and cooking animals. In the globalized world, halal can be found in street corners of New York and beauty shops of Manila. In this study, we explore the cultural diversity of the concept, as revealed through social media, and specifically the way it is expressed by different populations around the world, and how it relates to their perception of (i) religious and (ii) governmental authority, and (iii) personal health. Here, we analyze two Instagram datasets, using Halal in Arabic (325,665 posts) and in English (1,004,445 posts), which provide a global view of major Muslim populations around the world. We find a great variety in the use of halal within Arabic, English, and Indonesian-speaking populations, with animal trade emphasized in first (making up 61% of the language’s stream), food in second (80%), and cosmetics and supplements in third (70%). The commercialization of the term halal is a powerful signal of its detraction from its traditional roots. We find a complex social engagement around posts mentioning religious terms, such that when a food-related post is accompanied by a religious term, it on average gets more likes in English and Indonesian, but not in Arabic, indicating a potential shift out of its traditional moral framing.