The “Schizophrenic Nation”

Ethics of Critique in Morocco’s Post-Arab Spring Popular Music


  • Kendra Salois American University



Arab Spring, hip hop, Morocco, protest, resistance


This article discusses popular music portrayals of collective actions like those in the Moroccan 20 February movement. Artists use the trope of Morocco as a “schizophrenic nation” to denote enculturation into two potentially conflicting value systems, but also to depict collective actions as dangerous because they encourage a break between the people and the state. The examples analysed thus effectively reproduce understandings of the nation promoted by the state. Moroccan “schizophrenia” discourse, and the subtle ways it is invoked, offers the opportunity to complicate understandings of resistant agency in hip hop. While artists critique some aspects of state policy, they may promote a quietist or normative view on others.

Author Biography

Kendra Salois, American University

Kendra Salois is an Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at American University in Washington, DC. Her work lies at the intersection of religious and national belonging, popular music-making, and transnational markets. Her current book project explores the relationship between Moroccan hip hop aesthetics, practitioners' ethics and changing conceptions of citizenship in the context of thirty years of economic neoliberalization in Morocco.


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How to Cite

Salois, K. (2018). The “Schizophrenic Nation”: Ethics of Critique in Morocco’s Post-Arab Spring Popular Music. Journal of World Popular Music, 5(1), 88–107.