Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Sarah Lyon


The dissertation uses reproductive labor as a lens to examine how gendered and classed subjectivities are continuously created, performed, and subtly transformed within and outside of urban middle-class Moroccan households. Reproductive labor is broadly defined as unpaid and paid labor associated with caregiving and domestic roles including but not limited to cleaning, cooking, and child care. Subjectivities are the perspectives, feelings, beliefs, and desires of subjects within uneven relations of power. This research is based on seventeen months of ethnographic fieldwork in Rabat-Sale, Morocco including fifty-seven semi-structured interviews with married working- and middle-class Moroccans, as well as extensive participant observation in various parts of the family lives of Moroccan couples. This research deepens our understanding of how and why households create more equitable distributions of reproductive labor, a persistent form of feminized labor that underpins the reproduction of society and capitalism. The second chapter exposes the interconnected nature of paid and unpaid labor, examining how religion, family structure, economics, children, geography, education, and class influence household decision-making. The third chapter analyzes how urban middle-class men “do domesticity” and the small, slow changes shaping Moroccan middle-class masculinities for younger generations. Though extensive literature exists on Moroccan women in the public sphere (Cairoli 2011), less research explores the ways in which Moroccan men “do domesticity” and interact within the private spheres of life. The fourth chapter analyzes Moroccan middle-class subjectivities by examining their intersecting forms of capital; their effect on the market economy; and finally, the sociocultural, religious, and affective dimensions of obtaining markers of middle-classness through bank loans. This chapter combines a Marxist-inspired material approach and Bourdieu-inspired symbolic approach to examine the material, affective, and symbolic dimensions of class. The fifth chapter examines how Moroccan middle-class marital relations are changing in relation to companionate marriage and criticisms of the new middle-class marital relations. The sixth chapter examines how convenience technologies and foods challenge and reinforce gendered and classed subjectivities among urban middle-class Moroccans. Besides expressing class, convenience technologies can contribute to a restructuring of women’s positions within the household. The final chapter reviews the main findings and identifies unanswered questions in need of further research.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This study was supported by the United States Department of Education Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Grant (no.: PO22A180041-003) in 2018 and 2019, Lambda Alpha Dissertation Research Grant in 2018, the University of Kentucky Food Connection Student Opportunity Grant in 2018, and the University of Kentucky’s Department of Anthropology Adelski Dissertation Research Award in 2018.