The gatekeepers of Moroccan cultural heritage : Amazigh women and the status quo
Abstract: This study aims to determine the role of Amazigh/Berber women in maintaining and preserving the cultural heritage of their people through carpet weaving, as well as how this tradition contributes to gender norms and tourism in rural Morocco. The research method consisted of conducting semi-structured interviews and a literature review of intangible cultural heritage preservation, traditional gender norms in rural areas, and nomadic tourism theories. Analysis of the interviews concluded that Amazigh women keep their traditional culture alive through carpet weaving, and they are simultaneously valued and marginalized within their society. The necessity and pressure placed upon them leads to issues related to gender equality and girls’ rights/accessibility to a quality education in the modern context. Though in a constant state of change and shifting with time, the nomadic lifestyle and traditional Berber carpet weaving are still participated in today and nevertheless hold deep significance for those who partake in these activities. Traditional mentalities regarding gender norms remain intact, although they are challenged more frequently. Women’s weavings are critical in preserving Amazigh culture and symbolize a heritage identity in an overt manner, making women central to the Berber story and Berber heritage.
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