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Politics and Power in the Maghreb: Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco from Independence to the Arab Spring

Overview

The overthrow of the regime of President Ben Ali in Tunisia on 14 January 2011 took the world by surprise. The popular revolt in this small Arab country and the effect it had on the wider Arab world prompted questions as to why there had been so little awareness of it up until that point. It also revealed a more general lack of knowledge about the surrounding western part of the Arab world, or the Maghreb, which had long attracted a tiny fraction of the outside interest shown in...

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Overview

The overthrow of the regime of President Ben Ali in Tunisia on 14 January 2011 took the world by surprise. The popular revolt in this small Arab country and the effect it had on the wider Arab world prompted questions as to why there had been so little awareness of it up until that point. It also revealed a more general lack of knowledge about the surrounding western part of the Arab world, or the Maghreb, which had long attracted a tiny fraction of the outside interest shown in the eastern Arab world of Egypt, the Levant and the Gulf.

This book examines the politics of the three states of the central Maghreb—Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco—since their achievement of independence from European colonial rule in the 1950s and 1960s. It explains the political dynamics of the region by looking at the roles played by the military, political parties and Islamist movements and addresses factors such as Berber identity and economics, as well as how the states of the region interact with each other and with the wider world.

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Editorial Reviews

Eugene Rogan

History, culture, and geography have set North Africa apart from the rest of the Arab and Mediterranean worlds. Yet it would be difficult to find three more different countries than Morocco, the conservative monarchy, 'revolutionary' Algeria, and 'moderate' Tunisia -- particularly in light of the Arab Spring of 2011. Drawing on more than two decades of living and working in the Maghreb, Michael J. Willis crafts a brilliant guide to the ever-changing culture, society, and politics of this critical part of the world. It is the best book on the subject by far and confirms Willis's reputation as the foremost authority on the comparative politics of North Africa in the English-speaking world.

Claire Spencer

This accessible and timely volume provides an excellent background to the extraordinary events currently taking place in North Africa. Taking a thematic approach to developments in Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco, Michael J. Willis highlights their similarities and differences in ways essential to an understanding of whether continuity or radical change will characterize the region in the future.

From the Publisher
"History, culture and geography have set North Africa apart from the rest of the Arab and Mediterranean worlds. Yet it would be difficult to find three more different countries than Morocco, the conservative monarchy, 'revolutionary' Algeria, and 'moderate' Tunisia—particularly in light of the Arab Spring of 2011. Drawing on more than two decades of living and work experience in the Maghreb, Michael Willis has crafted a brilliant guide to the ever-changing culture, society and politics of this critical part of the world. It is the best book on the subject by far, and confirms Willis's reputation as the foremost authority on the comparative politics of North Africa in the English-speaking world."—Eugene Rogan, author of The Arabs: A History

"A novel and very successful attempt to describe and analyse the political evolution of the three core countries of North Africa—Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria—from independence up to the present day. It concludes with the eruption of the Arab Spring in 2011 and, as such, gives us an immensely valuable comparative study of the articulation and exercise of power in the Maghreb in the period before the radical changes now under way began. An essential introduction to a region now undergoing complex and unpredictable change for academics, professionals and the general reader alike."—George Joffe, Research Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge

"This accessible and timely volume provides an excellent background to the extraordinary events currently taking place in North Africa. Taking a thematic approach to developments in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, Michael Willis highlights their similarities and differences in ways essential to an understanding of whether continuity or radical change will characterise this region in future."—Dr. Claire Spencer, Head, Middle East & North Africa Programme, Chatham House

"Willis succeeds brilliantly in the task [of producing] a much needed introductory text to the region...providing an accurate, comprehensive and readable study of the modern history and politics of Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. Accessible in style to a broad readership [this book]...does much to expand our knowledge of the Maghreb and its importance to the wider world."—Ronald Bruce St. John, International Affairs

"Willis effortlessly guides the reader through scholarly debates in the existing English-language literature on North Africa. Intense cross-referencing between chapters, an excellent index, and extensive endnotes make this an ideal reference volume....the work's unique strength [is] its accessibility. Despite its dense, detail-filled narrative, Politics and Power in the Maghreb remains approachable for the lay reader and fulfills its primary aim—the creation of an up-to-date reference work on contemporary North Africa tailored specifically for the concerns of an Anglo-American audience...Willis resoundingly reaffirms the value of high politics and grand narrative for area studies....For the foreseeable future, [it] is likely to remain the definitive reference volume for policymakers, academics, and students alike."—Middle East Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781849042000
  • Publisher: Hurst & Co.
  • Publication date: 4/28/2012

Meet the Author

Michael J. Willis is King Mohamed VI Fellow in Moroccan and Mediterranean Studies at St. Antony's College, Oxford University. Prior to this he taught politics for seven years at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco. His research focuses on the politics, modern history and international relations of the Maghreb. His previous publications include The Islamist Challenge in Algeria: A Political History.

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Table of Contents

Note on Transliteration vii

Introduction 1

1 The Imprint of History 9

2 Post-Independence State-Building 37

3 The Military 81

4 Political Parties 121

5 Islamist Movements 155

6 The Berber Question 203

7 Politics and Economics 231

8 Regional Relations 265

9 International Relations 293

Conclusion 335

Notes 341

Select Bibliography 387

Index 395

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