"It wasn't written by Allah": gendered migration, neoliberalism, and moral anxieties in Central Morocco
(University of Milano Bicocca)
Paper short abstract:
I trace Atiqa's story and the ways she mobilises the notion of 'destiny' to interpret the failure of her migratory plans. My goal is to illuminate the complexities and anxieties that the encounter with transnational migration, neoliberalism and the Islamic revival has triggered in Central Morocco.
Paper long abstract:
This paper traces the vicissitudes of Atiqa, a young woman from a rural region in Central Morocco with transnational connections to Italy and Spain. University graduated and unemployed, Atiqa arranges a mariage blanc (an unconsummated marriage for visa advantage) to reach her brother in Spain and search for a better future. In the wake of the unforeseen events that crumble her migratory plans, Atiqa falls in a psychological state of 'absence', losing control over her mind, her body, and her voice. Only Quranic recitation and her bodily submission to God enable the recovery of her soul. Atiqa's therapeutic path coalesces with her 'return' to Islamic discipline, against the backdrop of the increased influence of the 'Islamic revival' in Morocco. Telling 'what happened' before and after her failed migration, Atiqa resorts to the Islamic notion of 'destiny' to rationalise in a 'coherent narrative' the chains of events that triggered her illness, which she comes to interpret as the consequence of her arrogant transgression of the divine law and her challenge to her predestined future. In order to grasp her understanding of 'future', 'subjectivity' and 'human agency' beneath God's will, I engage with a 'religious imagination' that circulate through satellite TV, religious associations and everyday discourses. By situating Atiqa's story in the interstices between present and future, visible and invisible, I suggest that the notion of 'destiny' reveals the complexities and anxieties that the encounter with transnational migration, neoliberalism and the 'Islamic revival' has triggered in Central Morocco.
Destiny, fate, predestination: ethnographies of changing forms of political and intimate life