Dotting Urban Spaces

Jewish survival politics in current Casablanca

Authored by: André Levy

Routledge Handbook on Middle East Cities

Print publication date:  June  2019
Online publication date:  June  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138650749
eBook ISBN: 9781315625164
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter argues that the study of spatial encounters between minority groups and the larger dominant societies frequently focuses on tensions between “White” veteran residents and new migrants, commonly treated as “people of colour”. In this chapter, Levy lingers with people of the minority group who, even in the face of a massive migration of its members, stayed put. Therefore, the premise of the strangeness of the newcomer that often feeds suspicion, animosity, or fear is not present in those encounters. The minority group, the Moroccan Jews, and majority group, the Muslims, involved here have a millennium of shared history. Levy argues that this historical given consolidates a unique dynamic between the groups and that, as a demographically insignificant minority, Jews manage to establish cultural enclaves that enjoy surprising success. Although these cultural enclaves are aimed at coping with their inferiority, they allow this minority a sense of control over their encounters with Muslims. That control, within what they perceive as a menacing ecology, is attained by the basic logic underlying the cultural enclaves, which he terms “contraction”. This term denotes two interconnected trends in Jewish life: a continuous demographic depletion and a tendency towards self-isolation and detachment from their Muslim surroundings.

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