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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Po(o)pular culture: measuring the 'shit' in Moroccan music festivals
Author:El Maarouf, Moulay Driss
Periodical:Journal of African Cultural Studies (ISSN 1369-6815)
Geographic term:Morocco
bodily wastes
Abstract:Marginalized groups and individuals in Morocco are subject to modes of representation, in which the images and symbols of dirt used to describe/treat them as 'bouzebal' ('Bouzebal' is derived from the Standard Arabic word 'Azbal' (trash) and the darija term 'zbal' (also trash). 'Azbal' is a plural word for 'zibala'. It is usually used to refer to literal waste and things that are no longer needed. 'Zbal' is polysemic in that it can also be employed to indicate junky beings (no longer needed in society) or people with low moral standards. 'Bouzebal', however, is a strictly pejorative word used to denote a person with a lowly social status. It is also used to label members from the same social class whom one deems to be inferior to oneself. The label 'bouzebal' (meaning social junky) is a complex term that was initially meant to pin down socially disadvantaged people as trashy types that are deeply entrenched in filth. This article studies these and similar modes of representation in relation to the culture of festivalization in Morocco. The underrating of local artists at the expense of Western superstars, for instance, has prompted heated debates in Morocco about how festivals are maintainers of such unhealthy acts of separation. Festival agents are young and active festival practitioners who find in the festival an opportunity to negotiate power and make hints at 'tabouzabalit' (the state of being 'bouzebal') by way of discussing serious local plights (i.e. corruption, poverty, unemployment, and tyranny). The author will also show how cartoonists articulate this lowliness through images of dirt, waste, and excrement to underline the decadence underneath the images of majesty promoted by the state's 'spectacles of joy'. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]