(2006) JLP 53-54: 101-139


Competing global players IN RURAL MOROCCO:



Bertram Turner




This paper analyses the socio-legal consequences of the competition between different transnational actors for the opportunity to implement their respective legal standards in a plural legal constellation in rural Morocco. The empirical data presented here refer to a rural community located in the centre of the Souss region in South West Morocco. The thesis in this paper is that focussing on the competition between global players for local control reveals that competition accelerates the dynamics of transnational-state-local interaction. Moreover, it seems that transnational-local interaction in a four-way constellation composed of two opposing types of competing global players, the state, and local actors, is much more complex than in a constellation with just one isolated transnational actor. It is argued that the rising degree of legal cross-referencing serves to boost the legal agency of local actors. Neither a revitalisation of tradition nor a strict rejection of interaction with external interveners has evolved, but rather, this interaction has had far reaching consequences for local power constellations and the way in which social conditions are reflected by the law. Thus, the socio-legal consequences of transnational intervention in the rural legal arena are examined along the different comparative axes reflected in these discourses: the potential for conflict and violent action; the impact on local identity; and the intention to link the local legal arena with transnational standardisation. Subsequently, the paper goes on to develop a concept of ‘empowered legal agency’ achieved by an emphasis on socio-legal identity and local culture.