Striving to be separate: The Jewish struggle for predictability in Casablanca

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2 Scopus citations


This article closely observes various survival strategies employed by the tiny Jewish minority in Casablanca aimed at fortifying their notion of predictability; i.e., the ability to foresee how interactions with the vast Muslim majority will unfold. Predictability is essential in the face of the imminent demise of the Jewish community. Jews’ main strategy to achieve this goal is to constitute spaces of encounter where they believe that they can conceal intimate and embarrassing cultural knowledge from Muslims. Jews seem to establish the boundaries of their “cultural intima-cy” through the exclusion of Muslims. Ironically, the assumption of predictability is confirmed by the cooperation of Muslims—a co-operation that ipso facto includes Muslims within the realm of Jewish cultural intimacy. Moreover, the behaviors involved in excluding Muslims are part of the intimate and embarrassing cultural knowledge (often seen as dangerous) that is to be concealed from Muslims. Hence, embarrassingly, Jews rely on Muslims’ consenting assistance in order to separate themselves from Muslims. Muslims thus participate in the efforts of their own exclusion from Jewish spheres.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1579-1606
Number of pages28
JournalAnthropological Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Casablanca
  • Minorities
  • Moroccan Jews
  • Predictability
  • Separation
  • Space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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