in: Erdkunde - Archive for Scientific Geography 68(3), 173-183
This paper explores the complex interrelations between migration, power contestations and the making of social order using a case study example in the middle Drâa Valley of Morocco. Conflicts between different ethnic groups arose throughout the valley’s long history of immigration and due to the sedentarisation of nomads. Nowadays, contestations of power result partially from national and international migration, as formally disadvantaged ethnic groups in this valley aim to improve their social status via remittances and investments in land and water rights. The possession of land and water rights plays a crucial role for social status and political decision-making power in this community. Apart from physical capital, social capital by means of membership in the community and symbolic capital as discourses of belonging are central to status and power, drawing on Bourdieu’s (1979) theory of practice and his concept of social fields. The study reveals that the social order itself remains unquestioned, while actors and groups work to improve their social standing within it. Pursuing this strategy of repositioning following Wimmer (2008), groups challenge the other groups’ privileges and claims of belonging which causes hidden conflicts.