LA 'NOUVELLE' LITTERATURE MAROCAINE DE LANGUE FRANÇAISE ET L'ESPACE PUBLIC: LE CAS D'ABDELLATIF LAABI
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This dissertation examines the strategies adopted by the 'New' Moroccan writers of French expression to creatively engage art in social and cultural debates on identity, decolonization and democracy, thus promoting the emergence of a modern public sphere through literature, against the backdrop of absolutist power and a politically repressed society. The term 'new' is understood as a defining characteristic of a certain trend of Moroccan literary writing that not so much seeks to distinguish itself from what is commonly referred to as 'colonial' writing, but that sees itself in terms of an epistemological attitude, and as an event associated with critical self-questioning and creative engagement with modernity and the colonial/postcolonial situation. The analysis of a selection of texts in our case study of Moroccan writer Abdellatif Laâbi aims at presenting a reading model that posits this literature in its relations with the evolving socio-political and intellectual environments. In order to reveal the limits and inadequacies of past approaches to the corpus of the 'New' Moroccan literature of French expression, the study draws on Habermas's notion of the 'public sphere'. For the purposes of this study, Habermas's concept allows for an interdisciplinary approach that has the advantage of exposing the intricacies of the literature/politics and literature/society relationships in the context of Moroccan society. The study engages the theories of art developed by Bakhtin, Jameson, Bourdieu, Said and others for the ultimate goal of presenting a reading model that privileges the analysis of the texts in question as literary texts seen in their relations with their context, and not as entities that are subordinate to or embedded in the realm of political activity, nor as closed entities leading an independent life of their own. The research questions raised by the thesis are set within larger postcolonial questions and themes such as the meaning of 'decolonization', the relationship between the Self and the Other, determinants of a post-independence (national) identity, the problem of language and the role of the postcolonial intellectual.