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Activism under authoritarianism: young political militants in Meknes (2013)

partidos políticos, Meknes, juventud, activismo, afiliación política, Islamismo

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.




Desrues, T. and Kirhlani, S.


articulos post-print


The Journal of North African Studies


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articulos post-print


Taylor and Francis Online



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