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TARICA - PoliTical And socioinstitutional change in NoRth AfrICA : competition of models and diversity of trajectories

par Sylvie Chiousse - publié le , mis à jour le

The research project will be hosted by the Research Institute on Contemporary Maghreb (IRMC) in Tunis, during the two first years, and will be carried out during the two remaining years within the Mediterranean Laboratory of Sociology (LAMES) in Aix-en Provence (France). The Research Institute on Contemporary Maghreb (IRMC) is one of twenty-seven French research institutes abroad and a research unit of CNRS (UMR 3077). Created in 1992 in Tunis, IRMC has substantially contributed to the development of social science research on the Maghreb region. The Mediterranean Laboratory of Sociology (LAMES), a research unit of CNRS (UMR7305), conducts interdisciplinary research that is importantly focused on the social and territorial dynamics of the Mediterranean region. Given their institutional setting, international academic network and grounded experience in the Maghreb region, IRMC and LAMES will therefore provide an extremely well-suited research environment for developing our interdisciplinary program.

While the “Arab spring” has often been analyzed as the sign of the world-wide expansion of the model of liberal democracy, almost five years after the Tunisian “revolution”, the geopolitical picture of North Africa (from Morocco to Egypt) shows very different configurations. The wave of protests and in some cases the collapse of authoritarian rules have produced various outcomes and conducted to different political choices : « negotiated » political change in Morocco, containment of social unrest in Algeria, « National dialogue » and success of electoral processes in Tunisia, authoritarian restoration in Egypt and civil war in Libya. These varied situations have close links with the mobilizations of actors drawing on unequal resources and differentiated logics of action. Analyzing ongoing change in North Africa as part of the process of dissemination, confrontation and hybridization of various political and societal models, and as resulting from their appropriation and reinterpretation by social actors, this project aims at identifying the complex processes, which contribute to the diversity of the trajectories followed by the region in the aftermath of the “Arab revolts”. Our objective is to grasp how various actors position themselves in the space opened up by the collapse or the calling into question of authoritarian regimes and to analyze their strategies in connection with the reference models and normative repertoires, which guide their actions. Our purpose is to identify the factors and processes that make it possible (or prevent) the setting up of institutional arrangements able to manage social diversity, pluralism and conflicts, so as to avoid authoritarian restoration or civil war. Mobilizing a multidisciplinary team of 9 core researchers and a comparative approach, centered on the actors, we will explore these processes through three thematic entries : political regulation, management of the past and transitional justice, social injustice and development.
Justification of the cross domain nature of the proposal Our research aims at analyzing the diversity of trajectories followed by five countries of North Africa after the 2011 Arab uprisings, both as part of the dissemination and confrontation of various political and societal models, and as a result of their reinterpretation by local actors. Our analytical framework seeks to capture the complexity of processes that shape this diversity through integrating their political, social, institutional and development related dimensions, combining micro, meso and macro social levels of analysis and articulating two kind of temporalities, one related to current dynamics of change and one related to the circulation of models embedded in a longer history. The research areas retained to explore these processes require the association of diverse disciplinary approaches : sociology, anthropology, political science, sociology of law and contemporary history. Panel SH2 would be then the most appropriated to evaluate our project.
Key words : Arab revolts, political change, justice, political memory, governance, development, North Africa.