Present imperfect: hypocrisy and the pluralization of Islamic understanding in Fes, Morocco
Mulderig, M. Chloe
MetadataShow full item record
Today, the nation of Morocco finds itself in a state of fitna--social upheaval caused by public disagreement over adherence to normative Islamic ethics. Young women in the medina of Fes are engaged in a complex and socially-contested process of deciding for themselves what practicing Islam should entail, creating gendered and Islamic subjectivities that complement and compete with other identities. The result is a set of diverse understandings of what it means to be a "good Muslim woman" based on: 1) an increasingly diverse set of concerns as women have more opportunities socially, economically, and professionally, and 2) an increasingly diverse set of traditions of knowledge and sources of information that contribute to and inform religious choice and morality. Through the lens of ideas on and accusations of nifaaq (hypocrisy), this dissertation examines how young Fassi women use peer-pressure and other forms of socialization to forge and share new ethical subjectivities and public practices. These young Muslims--unlike the idealized portraits of the perfectly pious adherents often depicted in the work of other scholars--are imperfect humans negotiating with each other and with society at large. Based on over a year of in-depth ethnographic research in Fes, this study combines media analysis, survey data, and intimate interviews and shared experiences relating to fashion, dating, Sufi ritual, shame, familial obligation, and religious holidays. This dissertation serves as an ethnographic exploration of changing Islamic norms and new gendered expectations and opportunities at a time of great social upheaval in Morocco.