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Disturbing Poses: Policing Youth on Casablanca’s Margins

Thursday 15 September 2016
WHAT's NEW?! Fall Lecture Series
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden
Lipsius 003

Disturbing Poses: Policing Youth on Casablanca’s Margins

In the spring of 2014, a large wave of police raids swept every working class, sha`abi neighbourhood in Casablanca, Morocco. Official statements described the raids as part of a campaign to reduce delinquency and urban crime, but the media soon labelled them the “Tcharmila affair”. Made visible by the growing online circulation of selfie photographs that depicted young lower class males sporting allegedly stolen goods, dressed in track-suits, and handling butcher knives, Tcharmila could have been a mere passing fad. Instead it provoked a national moral panic at the time.

Such was the affective power of the images of young Tcharmil men that their removal alone was not enough, and over several months thousands of young men summarily detained. Drawing on Asef Bayat’s concept of the politics of “collective presence”, my lecture will consider how the sudden visibility of a politically and economically marginalized group led to the violent repression of not only images but also bodies. By tracing the trajectories and impact of these images, my paper will illuminate questions about politics of recognition, as well as the role of internet visibility in the production and contestation of class differences.

About Cristiana Strava

Dr. Strava’s research to date has been broadly concerned with the nexus between the postcolonial state, urban governance, and changing social dynamics at the periphery of large urban centers in North Africa. Titled At Home with Modernity: Everyday Struggles and the Production of Livelihoods on the Margins of Casablanca, her recently completed PhD dissertation from SOAS, University of London, straddles the disciplinary fields of Anthropology and Urban and Middle Eastern Studies. Grounded in deep historical contextualization and using space/place as the central organizing concept, through the angle of practice theory she seeks to understand how the inhabitants of a historically marginalized and criminalized community on the Moroccan urban fringe secured their livelihoods through tactical encroachments into public space and the pragmatic and savvy appropriation of heritage and social development agendas.

Her doctoral research has been funded by the Wenner-Gren foundation, the UK Economic and Social Research Council, and the Royal Anthropological Institute.

This WHAT's NEW?! lecture is followed by drinks in cafe de Grote Beer (Rembrandtstraat 27).

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