The people of Ceuta see their town as an exemplary model of coexistence between Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Hindus. This “convivencia” is described as the brainchild of their mayor-president, who funds clients to enact his charismatic vision. Anthropology is sensitive to the moral ambiguities of patron–client relations but has overlooked the role of charisma in the reproduction of patronage reproduction. This article explores the theoretical and political implications of a process by which convivencia-patronage becomes seen as the extension of the patron’s charisma. Obscuring the historical dimensions of power, charisma blocks nuanced discussion toward the colonial legacy of convivencia as a way of controlling suspect minorities. It prevents change by channeling resistance toward the removal of the mayor-president, not the structures that enabled his rise.
Patronage, charisma, and ethno-religious coexistence in a Spanish enclave in North Africa
Stereotypes, Risk and National Identity in a Spanish Enclave in North Africa
How do stereotypes – as rhetorical, homogenising claims about the Self and Other – survive despite their users having personal experiences that contradict them? This article addresses this question by examining why the Christian and Muslim inhabitants of the Spanish enclave of Ceuta insist the ‘moro’ is a cunning, hostile antagonist, even when their interactions with Moroccans tend to be profitable, and even as ethnographers of mainland Spain report widespread revisions of the Moorish migrant’s negative image and the country’s Islamic past. Building on the interpretative model of stereotypes developed by Herzfeld, Brown and Theodossopolous, I argue that the ‘moro’ persists as an unequivocally malevolent character because it (1) is cultivated by a number of financially interested actors and (2) is central to the discursive strategies Ceutans use to respond to the political threats to their españolidad from both north and south.