PhD candidate at Groningen University. Research project: Mecca in Morocco: Negotiating the Meanings of Hajj in Everyday Life. Supervisors: Dr. Marjo Buitelaar and Prof.dr. Kocku von Stuckrad.
The theme of this PhD project concerns the ways in which Moroccan views on Hajj are negotiated in everyday social relations and micro-practices. In Morocco, being a ‘Hajji(a)’ (someone who has performed Hajj) comes with high religious status and until recently was generally associated with older people. Approaching pilgrimage from the perspective of lived religion‘, this research is informed by the overarching question: How do references to religiosity, social identification and self-identity in personal pilgrimage accounts reflect the ways in which the habitus of hajjis (pilgrims) is informed by various cultural discourses simultaneously?
I seek to answer this question by tracing the Moroccan experience of hajj and stories of pilgrims who have been to Mecca. I explore how a subject‘s religious agency is informed by her or his location within a group and by cultural discourses. Through ethnographic description, the everyday life of pilgrims living in Morocco, their struggles, daily practices, desires and motivations, are presented within a framework of understanding the process of crafting a religious self within group structures. Following the interpretive approach in anthropology, the study draws on the analytical literature on subjectivity, identity formation and the body.