Opendata, web and dolomites


Spirits of Displacement and Diaspora

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 SDD project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the SDD project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "SDD" about.

thought    post    expectations    cults    demolition    secular    meant    migration    integration    mutually    spirit    continue    social    spaces    transformations    transnational    disputes    version    possession    muslim    islam    urban    disintegration    sanctuaries    voluntary    dimensions    practiced    organization    reside    negotiate    mediterranean    migrants    compares    moroccan    reinforce    spatial    homeland    multicultural    practices    colonial    casablanca    seeking    shed    policies    ruptures    light    supposedly    cultural    host    contested    sides    puzzle    performances    space    fundamentalism    imposed    street    resettlement    transformation    diasporic    urbanism    localized    observe    struggle    continuity    ethnographic    religious    spirits    residence    western    places    displacement    appear    transient    morocco    undergo    practitioners    contexts    lives    southern    settings    abandoned    ing    forced    disruptive    furthers    compare    protect    observers    africa    communities    ritual    constraints    continuities    prevent    environments    slum    north    exposed    play    cult    gentrification    argue    tombs    neighborhoods    legitimacy    corners    methodology    adapt    pressures   

Project "SDD" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: LE1 7RH

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Project website
 Total cost 269˙857 €
 EC max contribution 269˙857 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2016
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-GF
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-10-01   to  2020-09-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER UK (LEICESTER) coordinator 269˙857.00


 Project objective

Spirit possession cults puzzle Western observers, particularly when they appear in supposedly secular urban environments. Muslim migrants from North Africa, seeking to establish new lives in Southern Europe, have to negotiate the continuity of such ritual practices with the constraints and expectations imposed on them by their new social contexts. But the legitimacy of these cults is contested also in their homeland, where they face increasing pressures by religious fundamentalism. Space and its organization, especially in urban settings, play an important part in these disputes. In Morocco, spirits are thought to reside in particular places, such as tombs, sanctuaries, or street corners. How do possession cults continue to be practiced when spirits’ spaces of residence have to be abandoned or undergo demolition? This research compares the continuities and ruptures in cult performances as the spaces that host them are affected by both forced displacement and voluntary diasporic migration. I will observe the resettlement of a slum in Casablanca, and compare it with two Southern European neighborhoods where Moroccan practitioners of spirit cults struggle to maintain their specific version of Islam in multicultural, post-colonial and post-secular urban settings, exposed to disruptive processes such as gentrification. By applying an ethnographic methodology to comparative urbanism, I aim to shed light on how different spatial transformations affect ritual performances that are meant to protect communities from social disintegration. I argue that different urban policies on both sides of the Mediterranean mutually reinforce, resulting in an overall transformation of cultural practices in transnational communities. Examining how migrants adapt localized ritual practices such as spirit possession cults to increasingly transient urban settings, furthers our understanding of the spatial and cultural dimensions that enable or prevent integration.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2020 Stefano Portelli
From the Horizontal to the Vertical: the Destruction of Bon Pastor in Barcelona
published pages: , ISSN: 1492-9732, DOI:
ACME 2019-11-27
2018 Stefano Portelli, Loretta Lees
Eviction and Displacement from the Neighborhood of Douar Wasti in Casablanca (Morocco)
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 2019-11-27
2020 Stefano Portelli, Laura Guarino
Resistenze e reinterpretazioni del displacement a Casablanca
published pages: , ISSN: 0585-4954, DOI:
Studi Magrebini 2019-11-27

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