Women and modernity: the global and the local in Moroccan women's NGOs' advocacy and public awareness work
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This thesis examines the referential and linguistic strategies used by Moroccan women's NGOs in their advocacy and public awareness work. The study is based on interviews with 24 NGO directors from geographically and ideologically wide ranging women's groups across Morocco. Sally Engle Merry's (2009) work on translating between the global and the local in women's rights activism is used to make sense of the referential used by NGOs and how language is constructed to signify the concept of modernity that each NGO supports. The findings of this thesis point to a complex relationship between right-based and faith-based NGOs. Although presenting themselves in binary opposition to each other, the goals, referential and narratives of the groups are often parallel. An important consideration for this thesis is the strategies NGOs use to negotiate the narratives of activism and advocacy between the local and the global. The referential women's NGOs in Morocco are using include human rights, religion, Moroccan traditions, democracy and science. All of these are used dynamically depending on the issue at hand and the changing political context of Morocco. This thesis provides a wealth of empirical evidence on the complexities of linguistic strategies in women's activism in Morocco and places them in the political and social context of the country. It also examines the ways in which concepts such as modernity and democracy are constantly constructed and renegotiated in the changing context NGOs operate in.