In his celebrated autobiographical narrative, For Bread Alone, Moroccan author Mohamed Choukri utilizes khubz, an Arabic term referring generically to bread, as a primary point of reference in describing his youthful experience of impoverishment, political marginalization, and emotive frustration in independent Morocco. Paired with anthropology’s universal and localized understandings of staple foods as embodiments of culturally constructed meaning, the populist accessibility and empathetic efficacy of Choukri’s literary idiom suggests that khubz functions as a powerful symbol of normative Moroccan social values. This composition makes an initial overture towards exploring that possibility, sketching out generalized correlations between khubzand interlocking dynamics of the Moroccan identity, as well as the normative processes and relationships that continually and reciprocally produce popular values. This study addresses khubz and its symbolic significance relative to broad categories of ethnicity, gender, and religion, incorporating considerations of kinship, wealth and status, and communal obligation in an effort to elucidate these associations in a more profound manner. While a propensity for generalization and a dearth of ethnographic data significantly mitigates the explanatory power this piece, conclusions drawn from available resources construe khubz as a fertile site for cultivating a more refined understanding of Moroccan values and identity.
Family, Life Course, and Society | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Sociology of Culture
Kurth, Patrick, "Daily Bread and the Normative Ascription of Cultural Value in Ahistorical Morocco" (2014). Independent Study Project (ISP) Collection. 1796.