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Alice Wilson

Revisiting 'the margins' as an illuminating conceptual space analogous to, yet distinct from, the exception, this article explores the Arab Spring from its margins to highlight 'silencing effects' that, if they underpin the problematic notions of the Arab Spring and Arab exceptionalism, assume spectacular dimensions at the margins, namely, the 'disappearance' of an uprising. The disputed territory of Western Sahara, partially annexed by Morocco since 1975, saw an unprecedented uprising in October-November 2010. Annexed Western Sahara's uprising narrowly preceded Tunisia's, conventionally recognized as the first of the Arab Spring. Despite Sahrawis' perceptions of similarities between their uprising and the Arab Spring, Western Sahara's uprising is overlooked in most analyses of the Arab Spring. 'Silencing effects' obscure these similarities and, ultimately, the uprising itself.

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Replenishing Milk Sons

Changing Kinship Practices among the Sahrāwī, North Africa

Konstantina Isidoros

Since the decolonisation period, the Sahrāwī in the western Sahara Desert, North Africa have experienced very specific sociopolitical transformations relating to their millennia-old specialisation in nomadic pastoralism. This article examines the effects of such transformations on particular forms of making kin out of others – milk kinship. Various political circumstances have obliged the Sahrāwī to restructure their customary principles of organisation, possibly diminishing these practices. I question the effects of the loss of milk kin – particularly of milk sons – and the strains on customary matrilocal relations in the survival pressure on kinship relying solely upon ‘blood’ sons to replace these ‘missing men’.