Institut für den Nahen und Mittleren Osten



What is Philoosophy? Theorizing the Moroccan Subject Post-2011 through Toilet Space in (Social) Media and Academia

Taking my cue from Gilles Deleuze’s What is Philosophy?, I propose philoosophy as a new theoretical framework by which we can account for the emergence of the toilet (loo) as a pervasive discursive and analytical paradigm in the Moroccan (informal) mediascape post-MENA uprisings. This philoosophical moment intensified in the Moroccan social media discourses post-February-20 movement where terms such kwaben (toilets), al-qadous (sewage pipe), sukkan al-qwades (ghetto-dwellers), al-fikr al-qadousi (orthodox thinking), m’jireeba, ba’arour (piece of shit) became the idiom of, a leading liberal Darijaphone portal. Significantly, Moulay Driss El Maarouf’s work on l’boulevard music festival and employment of bouzebal, “excreMentality” and the “poopular” to read the new artistic expressions of Moroccan urban festival amateurish performers and goers provide an instance of philoosophical thinking that engages the toilet as a site/ sight of struggle, one that is not only artistic but also indicative of social and political resistance to the existing order. In this survey of what I call the philoosophical turn in the Moroccan web after 2011, I argue that doing (media and) philoosophy in a time of socio-political change is an instance of becoming Moroccan, an epistemological and ontological break with orthodoxy and a principled reconciliation with language, culture and history: a coming to terms with oneself. Reading the philoosophical narrative of opinion piece writers in and other toilet-inspired web publications points to the emergence of “a minor science” (a young influential writer in Goud sarcastically identifies his opinion pieces as l3eelem or knowledge) against “royal science”, to quote Deleuze. Philoosophy or un/thinking society through toilet space allows for new hermeneutical agendas for understanding the new patterns and dynamics of knowledge production and circulation after the MENA uprisings. Indeed, a brown Moroccan Cultural Studies would be a sound proposition to re/conceptualize Moroccan subjectivity through toilet poetics and politics.