Home Institution

Cornell University

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Program Name

Morocco: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


This paper explores if and how stakeholders in Moroccan poverty reduction invoke the culture of poverty argument. The thesis originally proposed by Oscar Lewis has been used and transformed to justify a variety of policies or lack thereof over the past several decades and varies according to history and cultural context. We understand the notion of what it means to be poor in Morocco through the lens of NGOs working with vulnerable populations. The organizations interviewed in this research were all connected to government or foreign aid funding, which inserts a particular development and Western oriented lens to solutions. Although these organizations may not hold negative views of poor people, shanty towns, and migrants, their solutions are geared towards needs in line with a bureaucratic imposition of knowledge rather than the amplification of existing voices and solutions that these communities already have.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Development Studies | Inequality and Stratification | Politics and Social Change


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