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Title: Everyday struggles and the production of livelihoods on the margins of Casablanca, Morocco
Author: Strava, Cristiana
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 1030
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2016
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This doctoral dissertation explores the everyday lives and struggles of the inhabitants of Hay Mohammadi, a marginalized and historically criminalized neighbourhood on the periphery of Casablanca, Morocco. Using space/place as the central organizing concept, through the prism of practice theory I consider the ways in which everyday life on the margins is influenced and inscribed by a number of structural factors. These include political and economic agendas, and the actions of a network of actors operating as part of local and international development, architectural heritage, and commemoration regimes. Based on fifteen months of fieldwork research in and around Hay Mohammadi, I seek to understand how the inhabitants of a historically maligned community on the urban fringe secured their livelihoods through tactical encroachments into urban space and the pragmatic and savvy appropriation of cultural and social development programs and agendas. Providing rich historical contextualization, my analysis explores how the production and contestation of urban marginality and social inequality in Casablanca was rooted in the colonial experimentation with urban planning and the spatialization of socioeconomic fragmentation in the aftermath of local political violence and the structural adjustment reforms introduced to Morocco in the 1980s. In this dissertation I ask: how does the intersection of heritage and commemorative regimes with urban governance policies affect the production of marginality and social identities in Hay Mohammadi? Faced with ongoing contingency and economic precariousness, how did the inhabitants of Hay Mohammadi react to processes of heritage making and rights-based discourses? And what sets of practices enabled the inhabitants of Hay Mohammadi to secure both present and future livelihoods for themselves and their community? The emergent forms of agency and practice I document on the part of ordinary inhabitants and their position within local structures of power I examine, demonstrate a growing disjunction between state discourses and everyday life on the urban margins.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral