Home Institution

Hobart & William Smith Colleges

Publication Date

Spring 2018

Program Name

Morocco: Multiculturalism and Human Rights

Abstract

The focus of my independent research project is on the variety of religious identities among Moroccan youth, with youth being defined as people under 30 years of age. Prior to my interactions with human subjects, I consulted numerous literary resources to establish the context of my study. I investigated religious identity, globalization, individuation, the phenomenon of the Arab “youth bulge,” and youth culture. After this literature analysis, I constructed an interview guideline of about 20 questions for my youth subjects with the help of my advisor. I used all of the questions on this guideline in my four in-person interviews and my four online surveys. Although there are many similarities among the education levels and socioeconomic classes of my respondents, I have been presented with a large variety of responses to my questions, which were designed to understand how the respondent came about forming his or her individual religious identity. I also inferred about my respondents’ opinions on the religiosity of Moroccan youth in general. Furthermore, I asked two older people about their opinions of the degree of religious commitment in Moroccan youth. Although I am interested in how the older generation of Moroccans perceives youth culture, time constraints and other limitations pushed me to focus on my younger subject population.

My varied findings supported my hypothesis of individualized Islam being at the forefront of religious identity in the young people of Morocco. I found differing opinions concerning the difference in religiosity between generations--some respondents see a clear generational divide in the religion of Moroccans, while others profess that Islam is not confined to a specific age group and that there is unity among all Moroccans in their beliefs. The study also found concrete support for the notion that globalization plays a role in informing individual ideas about religion, identity, and culture. Many of my respondents acknowledged the role of globalization in reshaping society, but most of them did not see how their own connections to the world have influenced them personally. From their responses, I can speculate (but not conclude) how globalization and the spread of mass media and technology may have been an underlying factor in the development of their individualized religious identities, and how the lack of such exposure among the older generation affects their general perceptions of religion in young Moroccans.

Disciplines

African Languages and Societies | Family, Life Course, and Society | Religion

 

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