dimanche 29 mai 2011

feminization of public sphere in Morocco

Lalla Salma or Nadia Yassine: Feminization of Civil Society

Mohamed VI social policies epitomized him as the king of the poor. When he decided to get married, he married Lalla Salma from a middle class family from the imperial city of Fes. Contrary to his father and ancestors, Moroccans can get to know the king's wife and be seen on TV and got responsibilities. Mohamed VI rebelled against his dynasty's values and put an end to Harem life. The king has one wife; she is very modern and she activist in civil society. She is a diplomat holder in computer science and business management; and a daughter of a pedagogue. She is the president of  Lalla Salma Association to combat women's cancer. On the other side, Nadia Yassine understood with her father (A.Yassine the spiritual leader of Al-Adl-Wa-Alihsan) that the battle of the palace and its strategies changed into a play on symbols and in civil society. Securing its association from oblivion especially that its leader is aging, Nadia moved in strong polemic to destabilize the king, his legitimacy and his symbolism. She graduated from Lycee Descartes; a French mission high school where only rich middle class families send their children to get good education. Her father was a pedagogue. She describes herself as a Moroccan intellectual and a Neo-Islamist.

Both Lalla Salma and Nadia Yassine are entrusted by their husbands and fathers to get engaged to change the social and political landscape in Morocco. Apart from their activism in civil society, they both use symbols to vehicle their views and impose their way of seeing change, modernity and tradition in Morocco. Nadia Yassine uses the veil, media and lectures abroad to resist the king's sacredness and also to bargain for more power and legitimacy for her association. Lalla Salma mixes tradition with modernity as far as dress is concerned to vehicle the moderate face of Islam and the changing old-fashioned harem life in the palace. Both of them use civil society to mobilize masses and to impose and sympathizers. The war is waged by means of media image. Mohamed VI during religious feasts he wears traditional 'Jallaba' and grows beard. Lalla Salma also wears white female 'Jallaba' and put on a white veil. They subvert Islamists way of distinction in the public space. For Nadia Yassine association, they have lost one symbolic ground on which to mobilize masses. They turn now to other strategies of empowerment

This growing of strategies of feminization of civil society in Morocco is one symptom of the emergence of new alternatives and new forms of legitimacy renewal. The social arena is played on the symbolic grounds. This symbolic arena of mobilization of cultural issues in opposition to modernization efforts of the king yields new hybrid aspects of an emergent field where the political, the social and the cultural intertwine in the public sphere.

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