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The Culture of IslamChanging Aspects of Contemporary Muslim Life$
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Lawrence Rosen

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780226726137

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226726144.001.0001

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Ambivalence towards Power

Ambivalence towards Power

Approaches to Authority in Postcolonial Morocco

(p.21) 2 Ambivalence towards Power
The Culture of Islam
University of Chicago Press

In Islamic cultures, and in the Arabic language, the inherent ambivalence of innumerable concepts is on full display. Single words often contain a proposition and its direct opposite, just as popular sayings and self-evident actions demonstrate the two-edged nature of many connections and associations. This chapter takes up the challenge of ambivalence to social science—once readily accepted but inappropriately abandoned in more recent decades—by considering the ambivalent attitudes and actions revealed in the daily lives of Moroccans. Whether it is in their approach to questions of gender, political authority, or saintly legitimacy, a common theme of ambivalence towards power runs through many of the cultural forms found in the Arab/Muslim world, and it is through such circumstantial instances as those presented here that one can, perhaps, comprehend the seeming contradictions by which power is brought within the ambit of everyday life.

Keywords:   postcolonial Morocco, Islamic culture, gender, political authority, ambivalence, cultural forms, Arab world

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