Amazing Identity and Social Strategy among Young Moroccans in the Rotterdam and Antwerp Urban Areas
“Are you Arabic or Berber?” is a question many a Moroccan is familiar with. Research has already pointed out that youngsters of Moroccan descent living in Rotterdam are increasingly identifying themselves with Berber language and culture. This PhD project focuses on the construction of this Berber identity vis-à-vis Arab and Muslim identity within a framework of multiple (e.g. cultural, religious, national and transnational) identities in both the Rotterdam and Antwerp urban areas.
The main objective of this study is thus to obtain an in-depth view on the formation process of Berber identity on a local level. Contrary to Rotterdam, Antwerp has also been the centre of a successful effort towards supranational organisation for Arabs in Europe; the Arab European League gained a following of young Moroccans. In order to put a hold to the marginalisation of minority communities and religious radicalisation of young Moroccans in particular, both municipalities have started to focus on their inclusion and actively started campaigns to create a new form of “local citizenship”. It would be interesting to see if and how such external pressures on the local and national level effect religious and cultural association and the process of identity formation among second generation Moroccans.