A quarterly specialized journal
The Message Of Folklore from Bahrain To The World

Research into the problem of elite culture and folk culture: Teaching folk culture in Morocco

Issue 33
Research into the problem of elite culture and folk culture: Teaching folk culture in Morocco

By Dr. Mohammad Maaruf

Before discussing the issue of folk culture and its relationship with the culture of the elite in Morocco, we must talk about the Western understanding and experience of addressing the same issues, because foreign researchers were the first to highlight the importance of folk culture.

Arab researchers have always benefited from their Western counterparts’ theories and methodologies, so this article focuses on Westerners’ efforts to define folk culture. Based on their experiences, towards the end of the article we will list questions that may be pertinent to the issue of teaching folk culture to Moroccan university students.

This study focuses on:

  1. The concept of culture: How culture has been defined since the beginning of the 19th century in Europe
  2. The concept of folk culture: How is folk culture defined?
  3. Theories of culture dichotomy: How was culture theoretically defined as elite culture and folk culture?
  4. Discussing the fate of cultural and linguistic policy in Morocco in light of the European experience, taking into account events in the recent past that, in our opinion, resulted in a minor evolution of folk culture in Morocco.

So the key question of folk culture is what is cultural identity, and how are we attempting to promote citizenship through education? This leads to further questions. Do we want to enhance a sense of belonging to the nation, or loyalty to governing institutions? Are we trying to encourage gratitude toward patriarchal authorities? Do we seek a connection to the land (jus soli), or tribalism (jus sanguinis)? What linguistic and cultural challenges and policies does Western globalization impose? How can Morocco rebuild a culture that includes all of its folk cultures? Does the State have a think tank that can address the problems of teaching students from different cultures and of teaching vernacular languages, including Tamazight, at the university, primary and secondary levels?

We must insure that classical Arabic is protected, and that it retains its role as the language of the Quran, the constitution and the government administration. Local languages will be taught in parallel with Arabic standard language, which will enrich local languages and improve their structures to meet the community’s needs.

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