Love, Life & Rebellion: Social movements as sites of contestation
In this research project Miriyam Aouragh combines a scholarly interest in gender and feminism with an analysis of political participation and social change. The mass protests that began in 2011 in Morocco are still reverberating, especially since 2016 in the (Northern) Rif. The role of women in these protests has taken on a particular saliency. Rather than engaging preconceived ideas about women in Muslim-majority countries, this project turns to their everyday life and political engagement.
Miriyam Aouragh’s main focus is with women’s participation in grassroots movements during political transformation as a result of uprisings. Fieldwork in Tangier and Al Hoceima has indicated that the role of female ‘leaders’ in the protest movements is a key factor in maintaining the grassroots fabric of the initiatives. Many of the female activists also regard their personal liberation and love life as part of the struggle for change.
This raises a number of questions, first and foremost: What multi-layered struggles are female activists actually fighting? How do they counter the state-produced myths about gender equality and balance this with the harsh realities for women in the workforce and at the frontline of the struggle? And how do they bring together the duty of collective struggles with the hope to break social taboos or defy stereotypes? What dreams and anxieties do they express about finding a partner that shares the same revolutionary principles and how do these desires materialize?