The Journal of North African Studies

Published by Taylor & Francis
Online ISSN: 1743-9345
Print ISSN: 1362-9387
Schematic Structure of the Libyan Macro SAM
Libyan National Income Statistics Balance Sheets: 2000 In (MLD) 14
Gross domestic product by income in 2000 at factor cost (MLD)
In this paper a Social Accounting Matrix is constructed for Libya for the year 2000. The procedure was divided into three steps. First, a macro SAM was constructed to consistently capture and represent the macroeconomic framework of the Libyan economy in 2000. Second, that macro SAM was disaggregated into a micro SAM incorporating the accounts for individual activities, primary factors and the main economic institutions. But the SAM obtained in this way was not balanced. So in the final step we balanced the SAM using a cross-entropy procedure in General Algebraic Modelling System (GAMS). This SAM integrates national income, input-output, flow-of-funds, and foreign trade statistics into a comprehensive and consistent dataset. The lack of coherent time series data for Libya is a serious obstacle for applied research that uses econometric analysis. Our main intension in constructing this SAM has been one of providing benchmark data for economy-wide analysis using CGE modelling for Libya.
Number of Interviews for the Arabic Translation Industry
Synthesis of Results for the Translation Industry Countries Indicators
Knowledge has always been at the heart of economic growth and development. It is disseminated chiefly through the different stages of education, R&D, the mass media and the translation industry. In Arab countries there has been a widespread impression that there is a low level of translation activities, which in turn has led to a low output of the translation industry in those countries. This paper addresses this issue; its overall objectives are (1) to describe the economic performance of the Arabic book translation industry in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Syria; (2) to understand empirically the economic performance of that industry, the focus here being on qualitatively analyzing the major determinants (positive and negative factors) affecting the growth process of that industry; and (3) to provide policy makers and business leaders in the Arab region with theoretically sound and evidence-based advice on the issues analyzed in the project. To provide an empirical base for answering those questions, both published data and fresh new data have been used. For the latter purpose, a questionnaire-based survey was conducted in the year 2005 among 190 experts, covering firm representatives and experts in industry and government. The Porter (Diamond) model has been used as a theoretical background. The empirical results were incorporated in five national case studies. This paper synthesizes the results of the national reports, giving a comparative account of the performance of the Arabic book translation industry in the five Arab countries. The overall results suggest that the Arabic book translation industry in these Arab countries has not yet achieved the level of development of other developing and developed countries. Underperformance of the Arabic book translation industry is attributable to (among other factors) severe coordination failures. This is a state of affairs in which the inability of the different agents (translators, book publishers, suppliers, customers, and supporting organizations, state, and so forth) to coordinate their behavior (choices) leads to suboptimal outcomes. Since the economic performance of the translation industry often involves complementary investments whose return depends on other investments being made by other agents, coordination is crucial. Obviously, neither market forces nor the state have undertaken this coordination activity sufficiently. The Arabic book translation industry seems to suffer from both market failure and government failure. In light of these results the Arabic book translation industry offers great economic potential that should be mobilized systematically in the future. This paper discusses how this can be achieved, based on a well-designed and implemented process of upgrading and innovation in companies, industries, and clusters related to translation activities. Public policy, properly understood and adequately implemented, can play an important role in this process. To overcome, or at least to mitigate, some of the major coordination failures in the Arabic translation industry, it is necessary to select an existing pan-Arab nongovernmental organization (NGO) or to create a new one, whose mission would include two major groups of activities: The first action would involve the coordination of activities on the supply side of the Arabic translation industry. This group of activities would encompass the following: 1. Improving the documentation of Arabic translation needs. This can be achieved by creating a regional Internet-based database that would constitute an information base on what has been translated, what is being translated, and what will be translated from foreign languages into Arabic. 2. Designing and implementing translation support programs (including providing financial means) on a sustainable basis. This would create and maintain a critical mass of translators and publishing companies. 3. Promoting translation quality assessment programs. This would mitigate the widely known problem of poor quality translation. 4. Designing and implementing training programs for translators and publishing companies involved in the translation business. This would increase the number of translators and improve the quality of translation activities. 5. Promoting networks among writers, translators, and publishers that facilitate contacts and create opportunities for new translation projects. Such additional communication channels would spur new project development. All these measures are intended to strengthen the supply side of the translation industry in Arab countries. The second action would involve the coordination of activities on the demand side of the Arabic translation industry. The suggested NGO should support readership surveys and promote reading programs. This can be done in collaboration with radio and television stations, print media, schools and universities, and so forth. These measures would help to identify the real needs of the reading public and enhance the culture of reading, especially among young people.
This article asks if Ibn Khaldun's cycle - his study of how civilisations rise and fall - is relevant to the modern world. Two introductory sections set the stage for the reply: a series of early nineteenth century American paintings is used to explicate the theory, which is then put in historical context. The theory is applied to two countries - Algeria and South Africa - where the sense of national solidarity changed radically at the end of the twentieth century. The decay of Algeria's nationalist and socialist identity and the rise of South African non-racial citizenship show how flexible and subject to rational calculation asabiyah can be in the modern world. Group feeling can be redefined most successfully in situations of prosperity, as well as when state institutions have the capacity to check and balance executive power. But as recent United States history indicates, we remain vulnerable to the misuse of those institutions: the paper concludes by suggesting that even countries once proudly confident that they had broken the Khaldunian cycle may, in fact, be facing decay.
This article introduces Malek Bennabi (1905-73), an Algerian Islamist philosopher who is little known in the Anglophone world. Bennabi's principle ideas, in particular his reconciliation of Algerian nationalism and Islamism, are briefly discussed. Then the article assesses his long-term impact on Algerian Islamism, most particularly within the Front Islamique du Salut (FIS) and its Ja'zara grouping. Through interviews with onetime FIS members, both senior figures and lower level activists, the author reveals the extensive influence of Bennabi on the group, from personal contact with its future leaders at Algiers University as well as his published works. The author concludes that the army's justification of the 1991 coup, that if the FIS won it would cancel future democratic elections, seriously misrepresented the nature of the organisation, the roots of which lay in Bennabi's Islamist nationalism rather than the pan-Islamism of the Muslim Brotherood. In tacitly accepting this justification, western governments may have allowed a chance for the development of genuinely liberal governance, compatible within an Islamist framework, to be extinguished.
Abdellah Hammoudi describes the ceremonial occasions when the Sultan came into public view in the pre-colonial period. He suggests that what was happening was a ceremonial system designed to emphasise distance, both inspiring fear of and engendering love for the imam, which were the foundation of obedience. This was true both of ceremonies in which only Moroccans or Muslims were involved (bay'a, 'id al mawlid), and those where foreign ambassadors were received as part of a state ritual. Yet the Sultan was also a man, who needed personal as well as ceremonial contact. We have relatively few accounts of his day-to-day meeting with his wazirs – but there are descriptions of less formal meetings in which personal contact was made. There are a number of accounts of these meetings at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (M. Sulayman and M. `Abd al-Rahman). They involve both other Muslims (for example Ahmad ibn Tuwayr al-Jinna) and foreigners (such as assorted British doctors and Spanish impostors). These suggest that the display that marked the ceremonial appearances of the Sultan was not part of the construction of power and sanctity, but manifestations of it – holiness was inherent in the sultan, not simply a political ploy.
One of the many facets of the 1990s civil war in Algeria has been the renewed importance of regional dynamics within the Algerian nation-state. This essay focuses on this aspect of the conflict and the consequences it entails for the reinvention of Kabyle political subjectivity. Placing the current conflict - as it has been experienced in Kabylia and in the Kabyle diaspora - in a longer history of struggles for cultural, linguistic, and political representation, the essay explores the tensions between the ethnic, national, and transnational dimensions of Kabyle politics. With a particular focus on the representation and enactment of Kabyle struggle in the diaspora, the study attempts to understand these dynamics through the changing image of the martyr-patriot as successively victimised by forces of colonialism, Islamism, and the independent Algerian state. It is argued that, while Kabyle politics has become progressively transnationalised, it nonetheless remains firmly ensconced in local-level concerns over the social and economic conditions of a future, post-war Algerian nation.
The Moroccan legislature should receive more credit than it does for its manifold contributions to the kingdom's political life and reform efforts. Many of the weaknesses which observers frequently ascribe to parliament actually reflect deeper, structural deficiencies within the Moroccan body politic, or they merely flow from the insufficient level of resources that have been placed at the disposal of the legislature. Even so, parliament enjoys a level of public visibility that it did not have even a few years ago. If it were truly devoid of influence, much of the public debate in Morocco would not revolve around the rules and procedures which determine access to it; nor would it be emerging progressively as a focus for lobbying activities by professional associations. In the past several years, interest groups that have ignored parliament repeatedly have paid a high price for doing so. Significantly, media outlets and analysts are spending more time tracking what happens within the walls of parliament. Morocco's parliament is making growing contributions to political representation and executive branch oversight. Its influence on law-making is real. Even with regard to reviewing and approving the budget, where its performance remains the weakest, its role easily can be underestimated. Above all, it performs an integrative and stabilising function that helps shelter Morocco against the divisive and polarising forces that agitate - and under certain conditions could tear apart - the country's society and body politic. Parliament is slowly becoming more pro-active and assertive. Within it, one can detect growing signs of a sense of corporate identity and of a nascent 'parliamentary culture' that transcends political divisions. Despite its recent achievements and new evidence of its institutional maturation, the Moroccan legislature continues to operate under powerful constraints, some of which are internal while others originate in the broader constitutional and political environment within which the Moroccan legislature is situated. The article suggests four ways in which a donor might help overcome these obstacles.
In the late 1920s, Bernard Lecache founded the International League Against Anti-Semitism (LICA) in Paris to raise public awareness in France and other European countries about hatred of Jews and to mobilise Jews and non-Jews to take action against racial and ethnic discrimination. The rise of anti-Semitic discourse in the French Algerian press and other North African circles which culminated in the riots of Constantine in August 1934 led the European leadership of the LICA to establish branches in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. Based on the correspondence between the headquarters of LICA in Paris and its North African chapters between 1936 and 1940, this article discusses the membership and activities of LICA in North Africa prior to the rise of Vichy. I argue that despite the efforts of LICA to encourage strong relations between Muslims and Jews, the anti-Semitic environment among French settlers, the German propaganda machine in North Africa and the situation in Palestine hindered plans for a Jewish–Muslim rapport in North Africa prior to the Second World War.
This overview of the situation of Jews prior to and during the war discusses the increasing social stratification of the Jewish community during the interwar period, their willingness to unite and overcome ideological differences in order to help France prepare for war, the appeals for solidarity from the Muslim progressives, the impact of the fall of France on Jewish consciousness, the politics surrounding the implementation of the anti-Semitic Vichy legislation that targeted Jews and deprived many of their livelihood, and finally the impact of the American landings on all Moroccans, with special emphasis on the relationship between American officials and the Jewish community. The arrival of the American forces upset pro-Vichy colonial officials while Jewish Moroccans rejoiced, deepening the gulf between them. In fact, wartime conditions created an entirely new volatile mix, heightening tensions among the various actors on the scene: Pétainists, pro-Nazis, the residency, Jewish activists, Muslim notables, nationalists, and now, the Americans. The realignment of players and the diminution of Vichy authority after November 1942 gave hope to both Moroccan Jews and Moroccan Muslims that post-war conditions would improve their situations and lead to new forms of political freedom.
The Allied landings of November 1942 were a critical step towards the final victory over the Axis; they were also meaningful in terms of Morocco's foreign and domestic policy, marking a sharp turn towards the USA and the West that endured far into the future. The arrival of the Americans revived the hopes of the nationalists, encouraged the Sultan to defy the French, and stimulated military and diplomatic contacts between the Moroccan political class and the Americans. The landing also produced a windfall of goods that relieved the suffering of the Moroccan people, as well as a wealth of propaganda on all sides. Nazi media seized upon the event to vilify both Americans and Jews, French propaganda stressed the ignorance of Americans about Muslim customs, while American propaganda featured symbols of its military might. For Moroccan–American relations, the landings are highlighted as contributing to a progressive relationship of warmth and friendliness stretching back to the time of the early Republic.
Spain's importance in Morocco for much of her 44 years there (1912–56) was subordinate to that of France, yet Spain managed to carry out an independent policy during that time that corresponded with her continental interests. In the early years, her governing policy in the north was shaped by military concerns, especially during the Rif War (1921–26) when Berber warriors under the leadership of Abdel Krim nearly wrested control of the zone away from her. In the 1930s, Rifian troops fought at Franco's side during the Civil War, winning a reputation for steadfastness and ferocity. Spain managed to seize control of Tangier in 1940, but handed the zone back to international supervision as soon as the war ended. After 1953 Spain's Morocco policy lost direction as the tide of decolonisation swept over the region. Clinging frantically to her northern foothold, Spain played a dangerous game of encouraging the nationalists while trying to stay firmly in control. As independence became increasingly inevitable, Spain courted the Arab League, drawing away from ‘imperial’ France and Britain in an effort to become the ‘friendly’ interlocutor between the Arab peoples and Europe. But when France's withdrawal became inevitable, Spain too capitulated, for Franco's regime was ‘not ready to go to war over Morocco’. Spain's tenure in northern Morocco was marred by a bloody war, incapable administrators, unending corruption, harsh military rule, and the absence of clear goals.
Based on an unpublished memoir about the life of a seven-year-old Moroccan Jewish child in the 1940s in the mallah (Jewish quarter) of Casablanca, this article examines the traumatic dimension of a child's memory vis-à-vis the precarious social milieu and the instability of the political street at the time. The article draws a parallel between the deterioration of the protagonist's mental and physical health during 1948 and political and social events relating to the formation of Moroccan national sentiment in Casablanca. It details the contradiction between the official narrative and the ‘homey narrative’, the impact of news and rumours about the war in Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel, and how the formation of a (trans)national politico-religious sentiments among the Jews of Casablanca and Purim festivities coincided with all these events and reflected their uncertainty. The protagonist's mental ‘crisis’ is analysed through concepts used in Deleuze and Guattari's metaphor of a ‘body without organs’ known as ‘BwO’, where schizophrenia is not connected to either an Oedipus complex or the libido; instead, it is related to the world's (dis)order and stems from the repressive social, political, and economic conditions of the milieu in which the ‘subject-patient’ is living.
Beginning in 1958, the communist regime of the People's Republic of China forged an alliance with the provisional government of the Algerian Front de Libération Nationale (FLN). China's willingness to patronise the FLN posed a sharp challenge to France and other Western powers, but it was in the domestic politics of China and Algeria that this partnership had its most profound effect. Embroiled in the Great Leap Forward, the Chinese government used its support for Algeria to reaffirm its claim to embody a genuinely revolutionary ideology. The FLN, which was eager to legitimise its control over the Algerian nationalist movement, relied on the Chinese government to endorse its political and military strategy. Thus, the relationship between China and the FLN was for both sides a convenient means by which to articulate ideologies of nationalism, unity, and revolution.
In November 1995, the European Community launched the Barcelona Process, a comprehensive and multifaceted initiative aimed at strengthening political, economic, and social relations between the Community and neighbouring Southern Mediterranean States (MS). One of the initiatives introduced under the umbrella of this Process is the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. Central to this Partnership is the creation of free trade agreements between the Community (and later the European Union) and each MS, and similar agreements between the MS themselves over the long term, in order to foster prosperity and engender socioeconomic development in the MS. This paper looks at one MS, Morocco, and refers to structural change theory in order to present a case that trade liberalisation is not the most appropriate strategy to help Morocco develop and attain better living standards. Specifically, trade liberalisation would inhibit Morocco's ability to diversify production and industrialise, which is a prerequisite to a successful developmental transition. The paper makes use of an international trade model to provide a theoretical explanation as to why liberalisation would encourage Morocco to specialise in producing and exporting agricultural products and light manufactures, both of which are unlikely to reap a substantial added economic value. This would prevent the Kingdom from attaining higher income levels and enhancing the living standards of its people.
This article puts forth an open model of transition to democracy challenging the conventional wisdom of the literature on processes of democratisation, which focuses almost exclusively on domestic factors. International variables are thus at the centre of explanations for regime change. The article argues that transitions do not occur in a vacuum and presents a theoretical model that can be useful to analyse external-internal linkages. The model is then applied to three North African countries, whose efforts to democratise have failed: Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. The article concludes that it is no longer methodologically sound to exclude international factors from the analysis of transitions and that there is considerable evidence pointing in the direction of the central role they have.
According to a number of scholars of international relations, the transatlantic relationship is going through a very significant and possibly irreversible crisis. It is claimed that the different reactions of the United States and the European Union to both September 11th and the war in Iraq were the catalyst for a rift that had been deepening for some time, leading to competition between the two actors. The literature on the foreign policy of the US and the EU in the Middle East and North Africa also points to this rift in order to explain the seemingly contradictory policies that the two actors implement in the region, with the US being more forceful in its attempts to export democracy and in supporting Israel while the EU adopts a less confrontational attitude and is perceived to be more friendly to the Palestinians. This article, which introduces a special issue on the nature of US and EU foreign policies in North Africa, argues on the contrary that the transatlantic rift does not really exist. While there are certainly differences in discourse and policies, both the EU and the US share the same concerns and have similar strategic objectives in the region, leading the two actors towards cooperation and division of labour rather than confrontation.
Moroccan filmmakers have chronicled social change and youth's quest for postcolonial agency since the early 1990s. This article examines the representation of Moroccan youth on screen through a close analysis of two recent films on the alternative cultural scene in Casablanca at the turn of the twenty-first century. I will explore how Farida Benlyazid and Abderrahim Mettour's documentary Casanayda! (2007) and Ahmed Boulane's feature film The Satanic Angels (2007) unveil youth's search for historical agency in Moroccan society in the years leading up to the mass protests of 2011 across North Africa. Focusing on each film's articulation of the postcolonial subjectivity of young Moroccans through a realist aesthetic, the article situates Moroccan youth's quest for agency within the evolution of Casablanca under neoliberal globalisation, since the 1980s. The chosen films foreground the agency of youth through a focus on their alternative constructions of postcolonial subjectivity in a cultural scene that marries local and global influences in the street, on stage and on screen. What is ultimately reclaimed on the screen is not only urban space for an age group, but also the space of justice for an entire society.
This article explores the confluence of water crisis and social-political power in the 1860s in Algeria. An unprecedented series of environmental events – ongoing drought, locust invasion, the outbreak of epidemic disease – conspired with the privations of three decades of colonial rule to kill around 800,000 people between 1865 and 1870. This crisis was the impetus for a reconfiguration of the practice and discourse of water control and hygiene into a unique architecture of power relations. The colonial state appeared in this environment as a singular, unitary entity that could act on the environment for the benefit of society. Actions such as washing streets, repairing wells, building dams, and mandating hygienic measures to protect the population suggested a coherence of power different from what had existed in the colony previously. This apparent coherence, I argue, was an effect brought about by the confluence of hydraulic infrastructural projects, settler rhetoric about water, hygiene, and modernity, and massive environmental crisis. Rather than demonstrating the coherence of state practice, a focus on water allows us to see how the apparently external combination of environmental crises brought disparate social processes together in a relationship that evoked a unitary state.
The paper attempts to challenge the somewhat marginal role of international factors in the study of transitions to democracy. Theoretical and practical difficulties in proving causal mechanisms between international variables and domestic outcomes can be overcome by defining the international dimension in terms of Western dominance of world politics and by identifying Western actions towards democratising countries. The paper focuses on the case of Algeria, where international factors are key in explaining the initial process of democratisation and its following demise. In particular, the paper argues that direct Western policies, the pressures of the international system and external shocks influence the internal distribution of power and resources, which underpins the different strategies of all domestic actors. The paper concludes that analysis based purely on domestic factors cannot explain the process of democratisation and that international variables must be taken into more serious account and much more detailed.
This article explores the mediation by Moroccans of cross-cultural difference through the production and reception of popular music in the modern eras of colonialism and post-colonialism, impelled by the increased circulation and contact of people, ideas, and cultural products and processes during those eras. The explication in this article of music and lyrical texts from three songs recorded over a 60-year period tracks the adoption, distortion, and re-purposing through irony and mimesis of novel cultural forms, techniques, and ideas arriving in Morocco from others’ distant practices. Different ideas of consumption are recurring themes in the texts of the songs, and the article considers these together as a key mode of self-conscious examination of social and cultural change in Morocco by songwriters, singers, and their audiences. The article also looks at spiritually oriented or supernatural motifs in popular song as one other mode for the Moroccan negotiation of newer cultural elements and notions arriving from outside previous Moroccan custom, following earlier scholarly proposals that this spiritual aspect has been an important means for many Moroccans towards addressing aspects of disjunction and unease more generally.
In January 1943, the leaders of the Allied Forces met in Casablanca to discuss their war strategy. During the course of the Anfa Conference, President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) had a private dinner with Sultan Mohamed ben Youssef, which came to change the course of Moroccan history. Although the details of the conversation between the two statesmen remained shrouded in mystery due to FDR's untimely death just two years later, the Moroccan side later claimed that the American leader had promised to support their country's independence once the Second World War had ended. This article sheds fresh light on both the meeting and its impact on the trajectory of Moroccan history by utilising a number of new sources. It argues that the Sultan and the local nationalist movement seized this opportunity and created a ‘Roosevelt Myth’, thus turning FDR into a saint-like figure whose anti-colonial stance legitimised their own aspirations to abolish the French and Spanish Protectorates established in 1912. Until they finally obtained complete independence in 1956, the Moroccans used FDR's supposed promise to convince the highly reluctant US diplomats and politicians to support their anti-colonial struggle. The meeting between Roosevelt and Sidi Mohamed became one of the central elements of the national historical narrative, and the memory of the late President is still very much alive in the political discourse of today's Morocco.
Sufi orders in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia have gradually reappeared in the political arena after decades of maintaining a low profile. This phenomenon has received little scholarly attention and has been addressed largely as a function of authoritarian regime strategies in response to challenges posed by political Islam. Empirical evidence from across the Maghrib, however, suggests that the renewed political visibility of the Sufi orders has resulted from the interplay of wide-ranging regime agendas with Sufi sheikhs' bottom-up interests. The ensuing dynamics correspond only in part with regime top-down intentions and ultimately reveal the limitations of authoritarian upgrading schemes. Despite variances in scope and timing, similar patterns can be discerned across the Maghrib. New distributive and selective policies and new room to manoeuver, along with the weakness of formal political institutions, have created incentives and pressures for Sufi orders to increasingly engage in the political scene. Sufi sheikhs have to a certain extent played the top-down game and come out publicly in defence of regime interests. At the same time, entrepreneurial sheikhs competing among themselves have pursued their own economic or political agendas. They have banked on the growing market for spirituality, clientelist structures, and transnational networks, and have profited from niches in state services and contradictory state policies. In doing so, they have not only reinforced, but at times also altered, subverted, and eluded the regimes' top-down strategies, in the process acquiring nuisance and bargaining power and enhancing their political visibility and relevance.
One of the striking features of the study of nationalism in the colonial era in Morocco is the way in which the rural world hardly features in histories of the movement. Issues such as the Rif War and the Jaysh at-Tahrir (Army of Liberation), or even the Rif Rebellion, tend to be treated in isolation, not as integral parts of the overall resistance to colonialism that developed from the 1920s onwards. In part, this is the problem of the ‘subaltern’, in that the rural world has not enjoyed an autonomous historical voice in the same way as has urban nationalism. In part, too, it is due to a lack of professional interest and, until recently, access to the relevant sources. The archives of the French ‘Affaires Indigènes’ (the body responsible for rural administration after the French conquest), for example, were closed for many years. The article below is an attempt to begin the process of developing a history of rural nationalism by examining the ways in which nationalist awareness evolved in the countryside around the Jbala town of Wazzan, from the ‘primary resistance’ of the Rif War epoch to the ‘secondary resistance’ of the 1950s. It seeks to establish how a nationalist discourse was diffused throughout the Jbala region, divided as it was between the French and Spanish zones, by looking at the interactions of town and countryside and the role of markets as arenas of information exchange.
This study examines the relative unknown strategic decisions inside the ‘black box’ of Ben Ali's authoritarian regime under stress, and questions the broader narrative claiming that the fall of his regime was mainly the result of the mass uprising. Making use of new primary and secondary material, the author argues that the demise of the autocratic ruler was caused by the failure of the regime's controlling strategies due to the defunct communication among key security figures that represented its coercive apparatus: military, ministries of Defense and Interior, and different domestic security organisations. Indeed, the dysfunctional intra-regime dynamics were responsible for the outcome of the popular uprising, not the number of the demonstrators across the country. In this regard, Ben Ali's departure was the unintended outcome due to his misreading of the civil–military relations, as well as his own ambiguous perception of the military as a protector and potential threat that led to a lack of loyalty on the side of senior army officers. His departure was not the result of a deliberate decision or a coup d’état, per se, but rather the consequence of miscommunication between representatives from different bodies in the security establishment. In addition, the article shed lights on the role the military played in securing the country's political transition during the immediate aftermath of the dictatorship's fall.
Conducting ethnographic research on ‘traditional’ craftsmanship and its objects in contemporary Morocco, one cannot help but acknowledge an uncomfortable proximity to French colonial scholarship. In no small part current constructions of ‘traditional’ handicrafts reflect the discursive residues of colonial knowledge production. The massive Protectorate project of ethnographic documentation and description focused in large part on mapping out craft guild structures, handicraft techniques, types of objects and regional styles of dress. These earlier French models treat handicrafts as expressions of collective identities, categorised in terms of gender, ethnicity, religious beliefs, residency, and tribe. Present day representations of artisans and handicraft objects recapitulate these early definitions and standardisations in multiple ways. This is particularly true in the case of ‘traditional’ textiles and dress, which are defined in relation to the nation's past but whose forms and iconography are drawn heavily from early twentieth century documentation. This paper explores ethnographically how colonial knowledge production continues to play a role both materially – that is, in the ways in which artisans and their objects are discussed and represented – and conceptually, in terms of the policies and economic initiatives that embrace a particular way of characterising the crafts and the identities that go with them.
The participation of many thousands of troops recruited in France's overseas colonies, including many Moroccan infantrymen, known as ‘goumiers’, has been overlooked by historians and left out of accounts of significant battles of the Second World War. Yet Moroccan soldiers took part in some of the fiercest combat in the Mediterranean region, in Tunisia, in Sicily and Corsica, in the liberation of Marseille, and went on to liberate Paris and provide manpower for the invasion of Germany at great cost. Tracing the trajectory of the goumier units in the later years of the war, this essay recovers many details of their suppressed history, situating the memory of their exploits, along with the recollection of some of their less heroic deeds, within new frameworks of interpretation informed by the idea of empire, the historiography of race, and narratives of colonial exploitation.
This article examines allegations that the ‘Intelligence Service’ of Great Britain exploited nationalist movements in the region to ensure the future British domination of North Africa. In some ways this was a classic conspiracy theory with its vision of an omniscient organisation secretly controlling global events. Yet documents in the UK's National Archives reveal that during the Second World War, British agents did indeed provide covert support to Moroccan nationalism, including in particular the Party of Moroccan Unity under Mekki al-Naciri (1906–94). Furthermore, acting in concert with the US Office of Strategic Services, British intelligence prepared for a full-scale uprising in northern Morocco. Although British covert action was halted in 1944–45, its political ramifications, combined with pre-existing fears of British duplicity, explain much of Morocco's suspicion surrounding British intentions during the years leading up to Moroccan independence in 1956. The article concludes that while the belief in an external conspiracy was a paradigm in Moroccan history during the colonial period, on occasion the Great Powers and their agents did in fact plan covert actions in pursuit of their interest in controlling the North African littoral.
Clifford Geertz analyzed religious change in Morocco by developing an approach to Islam that uses both history and anthropology. His analysis is rooted in his conception of anthropology as a discipline whose focus is culture, a system of meanings through which human beings exchange goods and symbols. In traditional societies, religion has a particular place in this system where it plays a political role of legitimation. European domination provoked change in Morocco, including the decline of sacredness and the triumph of Salafism, a doctrine more appropriate to the national feeling. A post-Geertzian perspective might consider that Salafism, which has become an official doctrine of the postcolonial state, became radicalized while it was providing mass education, giving rise to the Islamist challenge. The decline of sanctity created a void that Islamism filled.
In recent years, scholars of post-colonial France and Algeria have devoted substantial attention to the question of memory. Typically, studies of memory in the field have centred on competing narratives and afterlives of the Franco-Algerian War; likewise, this event has dominated examinations of specifically Jewish Algerian memory. Seeking a more longitudinal approach, this article focuses on Algerian Jewish commemorations of three events: the 1930 centenary of the French conquest, the 1934 Jewish–Muslim riots of Constantine, and the 1970 centenary of the Crémieux Decree. Such an examination reveals two longstanding Algerian Jewish ‘models of remembrance’, one of progress, the other of persecution. This article contends that the two remembrance models developed during the colonial era and crystallised in the 1930s. The two models, and their complex interplay, did much to shape subsequent communal narratives. Each model drew upon and reflected a complex set of French republican, colonial, Algerian, and Jewish influences and positionalities among those who claimed to speak for Algerian Jews. Only by examining such long-term memory developments can we ascertain the particular way that most of Algerian Jewry, having relocated to France by the mid-1960s, sought to process the Franco-Algerian War and decolonisation. In the process, we can understand better the particular forces that shaped the formation of this population's distinct identity. More broadly, this examination points towards the need to exhume the deeply colonial roots of many ‘post-colonial’ memories and identities.
This essay considers the local political and historical anthropology of a political party – the UDMA (Union Démocratique du Manifeste algérien). It describes how the experience of ‘doing politics’ in a single city nuances, or contradicts, conventional narratives of the party's place in the history of Algerian nationalism. In particular, it shows that the reputation of the party (among former activists, in collective memory, in historiography) is rooted in one local experience (that of Constantine) rather than others (for example, Oran). Furthermore, examining local experiences illuminates power relations within the party as well as Algeria's broader political development during the decade of political parties (1946–56). It allows analysis of what appears at the national level to be progressive disaffection for the party system, often described as a passive phenomenon, by instead identifying the locally active agency exercised in party politics' apparent ‘running out of steam’. Rather than being a moribund era, this was a period of intense activity, discussion and action. The essay thus reappraises both this decade in the Algerian political experience and the place of politics in Algerian history.
In October 2011, Tunisia held its first free and fair elections since independence was gained in 1956. In January the authoritarian ruler, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali had fled the country, following a month of sustained and widespread popular protest. This article charts the political process from that moment through to the conclusion of the electoral processes, demonstrating the key roles played by an historical legacy of socially embedded institutionalism and an inclusive – if not universal – consensus on the desirability of democratic transition in determining the outcomes.
The present paper is an attempt to describe and interpret women's experience as depicted in the first wave of modern Moroccan autobiographical literature. Adopting a feminist stance, this paper endeavours to explore latent and manifest representations of gender issues in Abdelmajid Benjelloun's autobiographical text fi al-tufula (originally published in 1949). By way of achieving its avowed aim, this paper rests upon two basic premises which have fundamentally altered the conception of autobiography within literary theory. First, it holds that autobiography has historically borne an explicitly masculine identity which has significantly impacted the depiction of women in autobiographical texts. Put differently, the present analysis veers towards emphasising the centrality of gender identity to the creation and interpretation of autobiographical statements. The second assumption on which this study is based is the utter rejection of the objectivity and unity to which (male-authored) autobiography purports. Alongside with other theoretical and literary schools, feminist critics have approached literary life-writing as the realm of subjectivity. From this vantage point, autobiography is to be regarded as the means through which personal, social, and cultural perspectives are voiced and negotiated. Deploying a manifold of critical and literary theories, the present paper serves to refute the traditional tendency to regard autobiography as the emblem of objectivity and neutrality. With this aim in view, the paper is a critical study of the work of a pioneering practitioner of the genre in Morocco, namely: Abdelmajid Benjelloun's Fi al-Tufula. It endeavours to explore gender representation, mainly the portrayal of women, in this work.
This article will examines the trajectory of the literary reputation of the Jewish-Algerian writer, Elissa Rhaïs (1876–1940) through the thematic lens of authenticity and its relationship to colonial and post-colonial celebrity. Its focus is not on her work per se but on the meaning of authenticity, celebrity and charisma as framed by colonial and post-colonial perceptions of gender and ethnicity. From a general perspective, it is about the political, social and cultural forces that make or break a literary career during an author's lifetime, and about the shifting nature of the literary afterlife. More specifically, it will examine the differing intersections of identity and authenticity over time and their significance to the changing nature of Rhaïs'literary celebrity. The analysis of the paper revolves around three discrete periods: one during her lifetime (1920s-30s) and two posthumously (1982, 2000s) in an attempt to unravel the significance of the intersection between authenticity and celebrity as associated with her persona and literary reputation.
All indicators for Moroccan elections suggest a generalised disaffection of young people from mainstream politics. We are, therefore, led to ask why some young people become activists in Moroccan political parties. How do young political militants differ from their peers? When and how do they decide to join a party? How do they perceive their roles as party activists? This study addresses these questions among young activists of different political organisations in the city of Meknes. We find that socialisation in a politicised environment inside the family, the associative sector or at the university favours membership of political organisations. The role of friends and social networks is also important. Above all, activists' own accounts of their political involvement insist on their altruistic motivations. But because party commitment among young people is atypical in unfavourable social, economic and politic contexts, young activists feel they pertain to a distinctive group, which is something like an elite among young Moroccan people. Activists are highly critical of the lack of internal democracy in those parties that have participated in the government, but the cost to their social networks and emotional investments of leaving the party seems to be too high. While there are fundamental ideological differences separating Islamists from other ideological trends, activists across the spectrum share this sense of group distinction and critique of the regime and the socio-economic status quo.
This essay explores the scalar dimensions of North African politics through an ethnographic investigation of the continuities and discontinuities between local, national, and transnational dimensions of Amazigh activism in the southeastern Moroccan oases. Since the 1960s, activists in Algeria, Morocco, and overseas have agitated for state recognition of Berber culture and language. Through their mobilisation of an international discourse on ‘human rights’ and their support for national ‘wars on terror’, Amazigh activists have elicited state promises to introduce Tamazight into the media and school systems of Algeria and Morocco. However, in peripheral areas such as pre-Saharan Morocco, this national entente has proved fragile, as Amazigh activists have mobilised protests for regional autonomy, including the control of collective lands, often at the expense of other local claimants. Thus, a social movement which internationally focuses on issues of human rights, engages questions of national integration and the ‘war on terror’ at the state level, while locally prioritising issues of resource development and domination. The essay investigates how these different dimensions are negotiated by activists from southeastern Morocco who simultaneously collaborate with militants from Kabylia and Europe. I argue that the ethical and pragmatic discontinuities between activist engagement at different scales – rather than their ideological divergences – constitutes the principal source of the Amazigh movement's internal fragmentation and occasional violence. In highlighting these scalar discontinuities, I challenge segmentary or composite models of North African politics that presume either a singular logic of political action or a unified structure of commensurable, nested organisational forms.
Top-cited authors
Jane Tchaicha
  • Bentley University
Zuzana Hudakova
  • Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
Zouhir Gabsi
  • Deakin University
Paul Chaney
  • Cardiff University
Jan Loisen
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel