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Katharina Schmoll - Listening as Encounter, Empowerment and Contestation

Citizenship and Politics in Contemporary Morocco. Lecture and Q&A Session

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Katharina Schmoll - Listening as Encounter, Empowerment and Contestation
Katharina Schmoll - Listening as Encounter, Empowerment and Contestation

Date & Location

24 sept. 2020, 16:00 UTC+1

Online Event (Zoom)

About the Event

What role does listening play for meaningful encounter and empowerment? And what happens when listening is denied or contested? When the soft-Islamist Party for Justice and Development (PJD) entered government in Morocco for the first time following the Arab Spring, their rise to power made national and international headlines. The PJD was often portrayed with scepticism as party members engaged in debates about Moroccan ‘cultural authenticity’. They supported the screening of the five daily calls to prayer on national TV and contested that of the music festival Mawazine. Indeed the argument has often been put forward in both national and Western publics that political players such as the PJD contest encounter, listening and tolerance. Yet a more complex picture emerged during Dr. Schmoll’s ethnographic research with female supporters of the PJD. Many women she encountered fostered listening and dialogue on their own terms by reaching out to marginalised segments of society with the aim to civically empower them. This talk highlights that encounter and empowerment are possible when we listen unconditionally to those we consider marginalised or different.


Dr Katharina Schmoll is a Lecturer of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds. She holds a PhD in Media Studies and an MA in Global Creative and Cultural Industries from SOAS University of London. Her research addresses and aims to contribute to our understanding of the role of everyday media and communication practices in strengthening voice and empowerment, with a focus on Morocco, the wider Middle East and Muslims in Europe. She is the Reviews Editor of the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication and a Fellow at the Muslim Institute. Her latest article on listening as a citizenship practice post-Arab Spring has been published in Media, Culture and Society.

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