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Hamilton College

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Program Name

Morocco: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


The Moroccan constitutional monarchy’s officialization of the Amazigh language in 2011 was its response to a building coalition for Amazigh rights, which simultaneously narrowed and broadened the scope of the Amazigh Rights movement. This study’s purpose was to analyze Tamazight as it has currently manifested in the urban space of Rabat as a site of struggle for Amazigh people. The questions the study attempts to answer are: a) Has the Moroccan government found success in its chosen goal of standardization of the Tamazight language in schools? b) Do Amazigh activists share this same goal? c) Whose needs do the goals of Tamazight standardization include and exclude? If it is true that they have not found success, if the activists agree, and if these goals are not inclusive of the populations, what are the narratives utilized to justify this misaligned mission? The qualitative research to answer this question took the form of ethnographic fieldwork at Amazigh rights protests, IRCAM officials, and associations like AMREC, in order to examine the processes of institutional goal formation. Additionally, by bringing into play the case study of Moul Hanut , the study weaves real narratives through the institutional-level findings, grounding the research. Through twelve interviews with Moroccans from various backgrounds and in various languages (English, Arabic, Tamazight), the study discovers that Amazigh activists and government officials alike utilize different multicultural narratives to justify their narrow aims for the Movement that suit an urban, educated elite. This furthers the urban-rural divide in Amazigh needs and highlights the identities of the spokespeople for the movement. It confirmed that the needs of the Amazigh population are complex and splintered, and that continued research can assist in their cause. However, the gatekeepers of the Amazigh rights movement and Moroccan government ultimately need grounded communication with the people it serves, rather than research that reinforces an informational loop, in order to fully address what facilitates a multicultural society.


African Languages and Societies | Anthropological Linguistics and Sociolinguistics | Demography, Population, and Ecology | Public Policy | Race and Ethnicity | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Sociology of Culture


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