Murjid and Marabout in Morocco and Tunisia: Institutionalized Intercultural Counselling in Segmentally Differentiated Societies

While at the beginning of the 20th century the mediation still took place in a context of a territorally highly closed-off culture in a segmented society, it widened significantly in the course of the growing colonialization and modified from endogenous mediation patterns towards contact with other cultures. In Morocco and Tunisia, these mediational traditions transformed and widened and now formerly institutionalized figures of mediation practice intercultural mediation: the indigenous "leader" (Murjid) leads European tourists safely through the country and teaches the knowledge of "landscape and folklore". The cultic persons around the "sacred" (Marabout), the dancers, musicians and diviners mediate to European visitors also a sense of "salvation and blessing", which the guest can not find any longer in their 21th century home lands. The quality of this mediation can be called a "soft mediation", because through its practise there comes into being an action directing reality, which can be described through imgination and fiction.

In a synoptical analysis of case studies which have been undertaken in Marrakesh, Essaouira, Tunis and Sousse, there will be isolated invariants of intercultural mediation. The focal point of our empirical attempts though, will lie on the meaning of mediational phenomena which could be termed "weak" or "feminine".

Project duration: 2003-2004

DFG-sponsorship since 2/2007 titled: Institutionalisierte interkulturelle Vermittlung am Beispiel des Tourismus in Marokko

Prof. Anton Escher (Geography)
Prof. Rachid Jai-Mansouri (German Philology; Fès)

BECKER, GERD (2010): Warum Aristoteles wissenschaftliche Filme gedreht hätte. Überlegungen zur Theoriefähigkeit des Bildes anhand der Erfahrungen mit dem Film "L'Art du Desert". Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 135, 2010, 1-22.

BECKER, GERD/ ARIANE BETHUSY-HUC (2009): L'Art du Desert (HDV 17 min.)

WEICHMANN, HELGE (2010): Die Farben der Trance (HDV 23 min.)