Modernization and Individualism in the Ayt Merghad Community

In an attempt to build a modern state, Morocco has embarked on a process of social, economic and political development since its independence in 1956. Numerous projects of development have been implemented both at the national and local levels. These projects have produced new patterns of life which are governed by new values and ideals. In the Ayt Merghad community, values of mutual help and sacrifice for the benefits of the community, which were once defining features of this tribe, have begun to erode. These values are gradually being lost and replaced by more individualistic features. New ideals of individual success and personal achievement have become dominant aspects of the present-day Ayt Merghad community. Therefore, this paper seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the phenomenon. On the one hand, with a special reference to the Ayt Merghad community, it provides a portrayal of people’s attitudes towards collectivism and individualism. On the other hand, it attempts to shed light on the different attributes that reflect Ayt Merghad’s tendency towards individualism and the factors behind such orientation. It can be concluded that under the pressure of socio-economic development, the Ayt Merghad community is moving towards a more individualistic side of the collectivism-individualism continuum.