Gender on the Market: Moroccan Women and the Revoicing of Tradition

By Deborah A. Kapchan | Go to book overview

2 Shṭara: Competence in Cleverness

To indicate that the world is topsy turvy, it is said that "the women are going to the market."

-- Bourdieu ( 1966:240)

To get to the suq you have to cross three neighborhoods, transverse two empty lots where sheep graze on garbage and shrubs, and cut through the oily streets of the industrial quarter, where black-handed mechanics work on truck engines and repair motor bikes.

I met the Ḥajja and Rquiya, another neighbor, right in front of our house and we set off, my tape recorder in a straw basket on my shoulder. At seven in the morning the streets were already busy -- produce-laden donkeys, tethered fowl, pedestrians on their way to and from the marketplace. We made our way through the market entrance, dodging mules, porters pulling carts, the crowd:

"How much is this rooster, oh man (ah rajǝl)?" asked the Ḥajja when we arrived at the chicken section.

"They offered me 850, that's what they offered me," he answered, picking up the one she had indicated from the row in front of him.

"Shall I pay that price for it?"

"No."

"Oh, which one? That one which has, the one that's sick?"

"Come on! Prayers to the Prophet! All of them are healthy. There's not one that is sick. Here are some roosters [to choose from]. If you offer [a good price] God will help me and help you. If it's worth 600 you'll find it for only 400 [with me]. May God help you and me."

"Deal with us and we'll take this little rooster."

"That's what they offered me for it, those who buy and sell. They offered me 850. I won't swear to you and I won't lie to you. If you want it, you can take it with God's benefit."

"No, no."

-50-

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