North Africa in Transition: State, Society, and Economic Transformation in the 1990s

North Africa in Transition: State, Society, and Economic Transformation in the 1990s

North Africa in Transition: State, Society, and Economic Transformation in the 1990s

North Africa in Transition: State, Society, and Economic Transformation in the 1990s


"Provides a comprehensive, clairvoyant, and rich study of a number of issues affecting the Maghreb on the eve of the 21st century."--Yehuda Lukacs, George Mason University

This collection addresses the major problems that Maghreb countries--Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya--have faced in the last two decades and the cultural and economic issues facing them today, an unusually wide-ranging interdisciplinary study that brings together scholars from the region of North Africa itself as well as from the U. S. and Europe.

Introduction, by Yahia H. Zoubir
Part I. Polity, Society, and the Economy in the Maghrebi Countries
1. Post-Colonial Dialectics of Civil Society, by Clement Moore Henry
2. State and Civil Society in Algeria, by Yahia H. Zoubir
3. Economic Reform and the Elusive Political Change in Morocco, by Azzedine Layachi
4. Regime Type, Economic Reform, and Political Change in Tunisia, by Robert J. King
5. Political and Economic Developments in Libya in the 1990s, by Mary-Jane Deeb

Part II. Dynamics of Change in the Contemporary Maghreb
6. The Maghreb in the 1990s: Approaches to an Understanding of Change, by Claire Spencer
7. Maghrebi Youth: Between Alienation and Integration, by Mohamed Farid Azzi
8. Human Rights in the Maghreb, by Youcef Bouandel
9. Commitment and Critique: Francophone Intellectuals in the Maghreb, by Patricia Geesey
10. The Maghrebi Economies as Emerging Markets? by Nora Ann Colton
11. The Arab Maghreb Union: Myth and Reality, by Robert A. Mortimer

Part III. The Maghreb in World Affairs
12. The Geopolitics of the Western Sahara Conflict, by Yahia H. Zoubir
13. Foreign Arms Sales and the Military Balance in the Maghreb, by Daniel Volman
14. United States Policy in the Maghreb, by Yahia H. Zoubir and Stephen Zunes
15. The European Union and the Maghreb in the 1990s, by George Joffé

Yahia H. Zoubir is associate professor of international studies at Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management, in Glendale, Arizona. He is the coeditor of International Dimensions of the Western Sahara Conflict and has published dozens of articles and book chapters on North Africa. He is the editor-in-chief of Thunderbird International Business Review.


North Africa often has been relegated to the margins of the primary concerns of scholars and policymakers alike. Those who focus on the Middle East and Africa tend to ignore developments in the Maghreb. Journalists flock to cover the most recent crisis in Israel/Palestine or the Persian Gulf, but serious reporting from North Africa is rare in the Western press. Few universities in America or Europe offer courses on the Maghreb.

Gradually, however, scholarship is catching up with the reality that North Africa is a region of some 75 million people, who are passing through a fascinating period of social, economic, and political change. The present volume, with its emphasis on developments in the 1990s, and with due attention to the socioeconomic transformations of the past generation, helps the reader see North Africa in all its complexity.

And the picture is worth studying. In Morocco, for example, the king, who has ruled for more than thirty years, is experimenting with a gradual opening of the political system. An opposition leader has assumed the post of prime minister, after winning the largest number of seats in parliament. Civil society is remarkably vibrant. Economic reform has generally gone well by regional standards. And thus far, Morocco has been spared the violence that has been so pervasive in its closest neighbor, Algeria.

Algeria's most recent decade has been dominated by political violence that has cost the country some seventy-five thousand lives. As the 1990s come to an end, there is some indication that the violence is ebbing. Large sections of the country are now calm, and the risk of full-scale civil war seems remote. Still, terrible damage has been done, and it will take years for the country to recover.

Algeria also presents a more complex picture than the horror stories that attract most journalistic attention. Of greater concern to many Algerians than the violence is the grim socioeconomic situation facing the . . .

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