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 Masquerade politics: race, Islam and the scale of Amazigh activism in southeastern Morocco

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Date d'inscription : 04/09/2009
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MessageSujet: Masquerade politics: race, Islam and the scale of Amazigh activism in southeastern Morocco   Ven 6 Mai - 21:09

This article explores the different scalar dimensions of Berber masquerades in southeastern Morocco. By ritually performing Jewish characters and demonstrating philo-Semitic nostalgia for a former Jewish presence, Berber (Amazigh) activists simultaneously engage different audiences at a local, national and transnational scale. In the first place, they assert themselves as moderate (even secular) Muslims for a transnational audience for whom Muslims' supposed anti-Semitism has been a mode of excluding them from modernity. At the same time, their performances underline the specificity of Berber culture as part of a national folkloric archive, welcome to a Moroccan national state interested in forging an authentic, national Islamic practice distinct from pan-Islamic Wahhabism. Thirdly, in allying themselves with Jews, Berber activists distance themselves from a variety of rivals to local political and economic dominance, particularly black “Haratin” whose demographic and economic strength in the southeastern oases has increased since Moroccan independence. In exploring the confluences and contradictions between these different scales of activism, this article points to the internal fractures within social movements organised around religion or ethnicity.

Masquerade politics: race, Islam and the scale of Amazigh activism in southeastern Morocco
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Masquerade politics: race, Islam and the scale of Amazigh activism in southeastern Morocco
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