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Saints and Social Justice in Morocco: An Ethnographic Case of the Mythic Court of Sidi Šamharūš

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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.

Affiliations: 1: Chouaib Doukkali University El Jadida Morocco


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