Saints and Servants in Southern Morocco
This anthropological monograph, dealing with a persistent form of social inequality in the Maghreb, examines the affinities between ancient hierarchical categorization and the emergence of new forms to impress and contest social ranking in the modern nation-state. Point of departure is a detailed account of the ambivalent relations between descendants of the Prophet Muhammad and a social group of humble descent called Haratin in a sanctuary located on the northern fringe of the Sahara. In sections on the division of labour, fictive kinship and supernatural mediation, the book shows how hierarchical ideas are transmitted and instilled in everyday life. The author demonstrates a sensitive ear for conflicting opinions on the meaning of ethnicity and descent-based distinctions.
Richly situated in the anthropological literature, this monograph is a timely contribution to the study of ideologies of social inequality.