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In and Out of Morocco

In and Out of Morocco: Smuggling and Migration in a Frontier Boomtown

David A. McMurray
Copyright Date: 2001
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 222
  • Book Info
    In and Out of Morocco
    Book Description:

    Every summer for almost forty years, tens of thousands of Moroccan emigrants from as far away as Norway and Germany have descended on the duty-free smugglers’ cove/migrant frontier boomtown of Nador, Morocco. David McMurray investigates the local effects of the multiple linkages between Nador and international commodity circuits, and analyzes the profound effect on everyday life of the free flow of bodies, ideas, and commodities into and out of the region.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8612-4
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Note on Transliteration
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xiii-xx)

    In 1910, on the eve of the conquest of Morocco, a Parisian officer named Commandant Reynaud decided to do some snooping about in the Berber region of the northeastern Moroccan Rif, near the famous Mediterranean “pirates’ cove” of Aasanen. He was disturbed to find that the Rifis, who barred Europeans from venturing into their region of Morocco, nevertheless carried on a thriving smuggling business in European products, particularly arms, ammunition, and German trinkets.

    En route, he made the acquaintance of a Moroccan born not far from Aasanen. This Rifi, now a diplomat, had begun his career as a contraband cigarette...

  6. 1. The Lie of the Land
    (pp. 1-19)

    My wife, Joan, and I were just sitting down to dinner. The sound of a large diesel motor could be heard above the din of thedrari(band of kids) at street level, one floor below us. Someone rang our front doorbell. I went down to see who it was. The glass in our door was wavy and translucent, and I couldn’t make out who was on the other side without opening it. A short, well-dressed man with glasses turned toward me. He reached out and started shaking my hand vigorously.

    “John Davis, from the American Consulate. Pleased to meet...

  7. 2. Working Abroad but Dreaming of Home: The Story of Haddou
    (pp. 20-46)

    Being a Rifi migrant in the modern European world of the 1980s was serious business. Moroccans like Haddou knew this well, for he and close to a million of his compatriots had left their families and homeland in Morocco to earn a wage a thousand kilometers away in the countries of Europe. They had to learn how to navigate through the Moroccan bureaucracy, which selectively issued or withheld necessary papers and passports. They also had to learn how to master the complex European system of visa and residency requirements, which determined how long—or even whether—they could stay. Along...

  8. 3. Migrants as Pawns, Migrants as Pioneers
    (pp. 47-63)

    The extent to which migration had insinuated itself into everyday life in Nador during the decade of the 1980s was nowhere more apparent than in that mixture of values, beliefs, and common sense involved in talking about migration. All ages and both sexes participated in gossiping about friends and relatives or enemies and neighbors who had left or returned.

    Talking about migration took several forms. One was that of a long biographical narrative. At the other end of the spectrum were short quips and under-the-breath asides. The former were elicited by friends, sons, or younger brothers during the season of...

  9. 4. The Impact of Migration on Status Distinctions
    (pp. 64-97)

    The impact of migration on the set of distinctions underwriting the Nador social hierarchy in the 1980s operated in two ways. On the one hand, emigrants reinforced the dominant order by adhering to its priorities. Emigrants merely raised the ante by increasing their outlay on consumption goods and by introducing new products to be absorbed into the schema.¹ On the other hand, emigrants destabilized the status system by uncoupling the urbane, wealthy, educated connection that had underwritten higher status in Nador. The emigrants, in contrast to the traditional elite, often represented a difficult-to-absorb composite of illiterate, rural, and rich. In...

  10. 5. Music, Migration, and the Nadori Diaspora
    (pp. 98-109)

    Nador was awash in music when we were living there. Over every telephone wire dangled the thin, brown, ribbon-like remains of an audiocassette tape. Little children played soccer in the streets using the tape bunched up to form a ball. Arabo-Andalusian music played every night on the television during the month of Ramadan. Record stores fronted for cassette copy shops, where young and old queued up to make pirate copies of their favorite cassettes for their friends and families. The music stalls lining the street to the bus station blared out a cacophony of competing songs from their low-fidelity sound...

  11. 6. Nador’s Smugglers and Border Theater
    (pp. 110-130)

    The schoolteacher brothers were not there, Hamid had gone home, La Sociologue had not shown up. There was no one but Kebdani and myself on the café terrace that hot midsummer’s morning in Nador in 1986. “Let’s go,” he said. “Let’s take a walk.” I agreed, and so we drifted over to the closest main thoroughfare, Avenue des F.A.R., and then lazily made our way down, heading in the direction of the smugglers’suqand the bus station. The street was already crowded with migrants home early for the summer holidays; their cars threw up clouds of dust as they...

  12. 7. The Effects of Globalization on Contemporary Moroccan Culture
    (pp. 131-147)

    Moroccan migration to Europe is, of course, one form of the exploitation of labor by capital within the global economy. Forcing sending regions such as Morocco to absorb the reproduction costs of labor power, while also helping to keep European labor unrest in check, are both important benefits of migration to transnational capitalist concerns. At the other end of the stream, emigration from Morocco certainly works to relieve some of the social discontent caused by high unemployment. Just as important, emigrants provide valuable wage remittances that blunt the national balance of payments deficits while holding down the cost of living...

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 148-158)

    In the foregoing chapters I have tried to convey a sense of how profound the social and cultural repercussions of migration and smuggling have been on the people and the city of Nador. I have tried to capture some sense of the ways the influences have been “interiorized” by Nadori residents, that is, how their motivations and ways of thinking and speaking about and responding to migration and smuggling have been affected. I have also attempted to portray the influences on their popular culture, in terms of music; on the status system, in terms of altering while reproducing the sign...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 159-180)
  15. Glossary
    (pp. 181-184)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 185-192)
  17. Index
    (pp. 193-204)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 205-205)