Institut für den Nahen und Mittleren Osten



current project Driss El Maarouf

This research project, in general terms, examines the socio-cultural implications of past and present forms of childhood playing in Morocco. It offers a novel critical and conceptual framework to playing practices by positioning the term “game” and “play” adjacent to notions of space, urbanism, globalization, discourse and consumer culture. I argue that while childhood games are forms of expression and creativity, they are sites of struggle, seats for the enactment of situations of power and agency as well as for the negotiation of fundamental cultural and social changes. From the self- made toys and collective games of the 50s to latest 3d video games, childhood culture could be said to have undergone huge transformations. Across this period, what could have happened to the culture of gaming as we know it, that in which little boys and girls design, govern and celebrate a world and vision of their own? What inclusions and exclusions have infiltrated the existing playing repertoires in Morocco? Appearance of new games to the total absence or gradual fading of old forms of playing is in some way a sign of change, and that change shoots through necessary forms of being, at a particular age. I also examine the extent to which the local gaming culture has transformed in a deterritorialized world, and how, within the game industry’s merging of the synthetic world, play crafts complex combinations of reality and fantasy. By probing the current state of classic neighborhood games in a global era and investigating the role of contraband for instance in changing the fixed images of play in the local imaginary, we will be able to capture the structures of potential meanings that comprise a fundamental resource of youth culture.