Perspectives on City History and Their Interdependency with Constructions of Belonging in Ceuta and Melilla
My research, which deploys biographical and ethnographic methods, explores how these border cities’ conflictual histories are remembered and referred to by members of different groupings and how these historical perspectives relate to their respective constructions of belonging. It is part of the project “The Social Construction of Border Zones”, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).
Nowadays, the proportion of the population in these two cities that is Muslim and/or Moroccan is growing constantly. As a result, power balances are shifting slowly, and part of the Christian-Spanish population feels endangered by this societal change that is perceived by them as “Moroccanization”. Furthermore, there is a tendency in the established population to harmonize the conflictual history (and present) of these cities by a discourse of peaceful coexistence (“convivencia”). On the basis of my empirical analysis, I argue that this discourse essentializes cultural differences and hinders the negotiation of historical conflicts and power inequalities.