«Are you Muslim, Jew or Christian?» Otherness and difference construction in Moroccan exorcism and adorcism

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One of the more subtle forms of construction of group stereotypes takes place through the representation of non-human beings who embody these differences. Geniuses (jins) in Morocco are classified as Muslim, Jew, Christian and unbeliever, and these differences are represented in a wide frame of rituals both exorcist and adorcist. After analyzing the mechanisms that generate these projections in other social and cultural contexts and within Islam, I present a typology of the main rituals that define and reinforce a classification system which highlights the dangerous and unclean image of the Jewish geniuses. Following a comparison between the available ethnographic literature and my own data gathered in Morocco and Catalonia I analize the rituals of those faqihs who exorcise geniuses with the Koran, contrasted to the adorcist ceremonies of the Gnawa brotherhood. These current performative classification systems are put in dialogue with various colonial sources in order to examine the historical links between the representations of the geniuses world and changes in the religious composition of Moroccan society throughout the twentieth century, from the colonial impact or the progressive output of the Jewish communities to the growth of a significant anti-Judaism, as we can observe in the most recent exorcism rites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-284
JournalRevista de Dialectologia y Tradiciones Populares
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Exorcism
  • Inter-religious relationships
  • Morocco
  • Otherness
  • Possession
  • Stereotypes


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