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Jinn Eviction as a Discourse of Power

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Moroccan Magical Beliefs and Practices

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Mohammed Maarouf

This book is intended to construct a basis for the understanding of the rites and practices associated with exorcism, or jinn eviction as it is performed within the maraboutic institution called zawiya. Jinn eviction as it occurs in the maraboutic institution reproduces ideologies and social hierarchies of traditional society through the use of a variety of healing symbols and rituals. These symbols are delved into for the benefit of understanding the perennial cultural foundations of the discourse and practice of power in Morocco. The result is an ethnography of possession that has combined meticulous ethnographic field work with critical discourse analysis.
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Mohammed Maarouf

Abstract

This ethnography of the saint protector of the High Atlas Sidi Šamharūš explores how Moroccan pilgrims use their own popular idioms of justice to understand and construct their relationship with saints and the political system they represent. Enduring the lack of justice in their social world, Moroccan subalterns go to saints to seek mythic justice. As maraboutic clients, they do not perceive social justice as part of the real world they belong to, that is as a human right to be struggled for or a principle pertinent to a ruling state that should be accountable to its citizens for the administration of justice. Instead, it is believed to be an occult gift that relates to the anonymous power of saints and spirits who possess the miracle to make it true. The cultural construction of justice as a sacred gift offered by saintly figures emanates from a form of licensed cultural therapeutic resistance constituting possession rituals and trance dances performed essentially by the poor to relieve their social world from tension and conflict; for them it is an escape to the miraculous to look for extraordinary solutions to ameliorate their social conditions.

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Mohammed Maarouf

Abstract

This paper presents an ethnographic image of 'Āšūrā' delineating how a cultural and religious ritual may play the role of establishing and sustaining cultural hegemony in Morocco. It forwards into a position of prominence the carnivalesque aspect of the ritual. The cultural authority of the male is transgressed, mocked and crushed down by the joyful moment of female becoming in a ritual outlet that permits power to rejuvenate its yoke of domination over women in the normal existing social conditions. Carnival is a form of social control of the low by the high and thus serves the interests of the official culture that it apparently opposes. It is a licensed relief. Hegemony permits the ritual inversions of hierarchy and status degradations to re-affirm the status quo. In this sense, 'Āšūrā' seems to offer an occasion for the ritual emancipation of women fulfilled by their practice of magic and ceremonial alfresco gatherings, chanting songs of challenge to the male authority.