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The Ethnographic StateFrance and the Invention of Moroccan Islam$
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Edmund III Burke

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780520273818

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520273818.001.0001

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When Paradigms Shift

When Paradigms Shift

Political and Discursive Contexts of the Moroccan Question

(p.66) Four When Paradigms Shift
The Ethnographic State

Edmund Burke

University of California Press

The shifting content of French ethnographic representations of Morocco is the subject of chapter 4. It reviews the successive transformations of representations of Moroccan society over the period 1900–1906. At first, French observers insisted upon the relatively open and complex character of Moroccan society, in which alleged differences between Arabs and Berbers, nomads and sedentaries, and pro-government (makhzan) and anti-government (siba) tribes were systematically critiqued. By 1906 the same observers now described Morocco as characterized by sharply etched binaries. Contrary to the grim determinisms of some postcolonial critics, for whom orientalism was a totalizing system, this book inserts the development of the ethnography of Morocco into the deeply conflicted French political and intellectual fields of the time. Chapter 4 provides a deeper and more complex historicization of the context in which these changes unfolded. The Moroccan colonial archive was more malleable and open to change than previously thought.

Keywords:   Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, makhzan, siba, compagnie marocaine, pastoral nomadic, sedentary

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