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Precarious Modernities

Assembling State, Space and Society on the Urban Margins in Morocco

Cristiana Strava
02 December 2021

Using rich ethnographic detail, Precarious Modernities offers an immersive account of the multiple scales and entangled actors involved in the objectification and instrumentalization of Casablanca's margins as part of ongoing and contingent processes of 'modernization'. Focusing on the everyday lives and spaces of a mythicized community, and its interaction with heritage activists, international development agendas and technocratic planning regimes, the book documents how the depoliticization of the urban margins aids the consolidation of deeply unequal social, spatial, and economic orders.

The result is a unique account of the political continuities, security logics, economic ideologies and competing forces that shape the possibilities open to precarious communities in a storied and sprawling metropolis. As marginalized inhabitants develop pragmatic ways of appropriating or resisting powerful agendas, unanticipated and novel forms of political engagement emerge. These signal the revival and reconfiguration of notions of class and open up creative and alternative spatial avenues for participation in an era of increasing authoritarianisms.

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