Tourism, Charity, and Profit: The Movement of Money in Moroccan Jewish Pilgrimage

Essay Excerpt

Rituals of charity, I have shown, initiate and continue triadic relationships of exchange that involve donors, recipients, and saints. As exchanges among pilgrims, rituals of charity rely upon and reproduce hierarchies of wealth. As exchanges between pilgrims and saints, rituals of charity inscribe these hierarchies into a sacred idiom that justifies wealth and poverty in the present and channels the circulation of money in the future. Money given as charity istransformed into a recognizable form of sacred capital that will be repaid by saints. In the dialectic between disinterested charity and the expectation of recompense, gift and commodity are difficult to distinguish, especially where saintly recompense is realized as profit in the global market. (390)

About the Author

Oren Kosansky is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Lewis & Clark College. He received his PhD in 2003 in Anthropology from the University of Michigan. Professor Kosansky's research has focused on the Jews of Morocco; his courses at Lewis & Clark have been mainly in cultural anthropology, with emphasis on the Middle East. He is also the Director of the Rabat Genizah Project, which is developing a digital archive of previously unavailable materials that documents the modern history of Jewish Morocco in its urban, national, and regional contexts.

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