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Imaginative geographies of Amazigh activism in Morocco

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This paper analyzes the geographical imaginations of Amazigh activists, the indigenous people of North Africa. Situated at the crossroads of post-colonial theory, indigenous language rights and national narratives of inclusion and exclusion, the paper discusses the Amazigh movement in Morocco. The issue of language rights is particularly important to the movement and this is reflected in the paper through an emphasis on Tamazight script choice and perceptions of the Institut Royal de la Culture Amazighe (IRCAM). IRCAM is the government entity charged with the standardization of the Tamazight languages and the implementation of Tamazight instruction in Moroccan schools. Debates over the role of IRCAM and the choice of an official script for Tamazight language instruction form an important area of contestation within the activist movement. Despite activists' differences in opinion on these key issues, the imaginative geographies they articulate through these debates share similar visions of national Amazigh identity. These imaginative geographies re-imagined the Moroccan nation by asserting that all Moroccans are Amazigh while continuing to produce a transnational imaginative geography of ‘Tamazgha,’ a greater Amazigh land across all of North Africa.
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Keywords: Amazigh; Maroc; Marruecos; Morocco; amazigh; geografía imaginaria; géographie imaginative; idioma; imaginative geography; indigenous movements; language; langue; mouvements indigènes; movimientos indígenas; poscolonial; post-colonial; postcolonial

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of History,Georgetown University, Intercultural Center 600, Box 571035Washington,DC,20057, USA 2: Department of Geography,The George Washington University, 1922 F Street NWWashington,DC,20052, USA

Publication date: 2012-05-01

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