Call for papers

Values and Institutions: What has changed in post 2011 North Africa?

International conference: "Values and Institutions: What has changed in post 2011 North Africa?" Date: 25-26 October 2019 Tangier, Morocco


Concept note:

Research in the field of democratization studies has established that democracies are predicated on the existence of institutional structures that take the form of democratic institutions (based on the principles of delegation and representation) on the one hand, and on a value system that governs the relations between the actors and shapes their behaviour on the other. Accordingly, any political system that is not characterized by a value system that allows peaceful play of power cannot establish a stable democracy (Lipset 1959). This understanding of democracy as a binary system consisting of both institutions and values has constantly been at the heart of the debate on democracy and democratization. The locus classicus of the idea of a value-cultural basis for democracy dates back to Ibn Khaldun and Montesquieu, who suggested that factors like natural conditions (such as climate) have an impact on culture, and that both culture and natural conditions “produce ‘spirits’ that shape the working of alternative political institutions, including the separation of powers” (Besly and Persson 2017). Starting from the second half of 20th century, Almond and Verba’s work on “civic culture” have become a milestone in democratization studies and paved the way for other social scientists to highlight the cultural dimension of democracy and democratization, particularly the works of Inglehart (1997, 2018), Welzel (2005), Ticchi, Verdier, Vindigm (2013), to mention only these few examples.

Based on the theoretical and methodological accumulation created by these and other studies, this symposium aims to contribute to a preliminary assessment of the political transformations that resulted from the first wave of the Arab uprisings of 2011 from the perspective of the supposed mutual influence between democratic institutions and the democratic value system.

The interaction between values and institutions in the context of Arab uprisings is based on two underlying assumptions. First, mass protest activities should be seen as a qualitative shift in the ways individuals (the ruled) represent power and power relations. From this perspective protest ushers in a slow but steady change in the deep trends of political culture in North African societies (from subjecthood to citizenship, from tribes to state, and from community oriented to individual oriented societies). Obviously, these changes are yet to take root in these societies in a way that would help to break with the value system of authoritarianism and bring about genuine democracy.

The second underlying assumption is that the political and institutional changes that occurred since 2011 are not enough to measure, on their own, the democratizing effect of the Arab uprisings. Such an endeavour entails a more comprehensive and in-depth approach that looks at potential changes in the values and cultures of the members of the new elites, and the way they interact with institutions. In this regard, it is worth noting that the 2011 protest movements did not occur in a void. Protest activities took place within and in interaction with institutions of the existing social systems, everywhere in Arab spring countries. These institutions served and continue to serve as a sort of reservoir of expertise acquired by the people over the centuries. Indeed, the accumulation of this multilayered historical experience forges a sort of “collective political mind,” which consists of key events, memories, and know-how that shape the identity of societies in the present and, to some extent, conditions their future. Although this collective political mind usually goes unnoticed and seems to be overlooked in routine politics, it manifests itself through a broad swath of forms and patterns of political behaviour in the context of crisis. This can be observed in the ways different components of a North African society have been interacting with each other and deal with challenges posed by their environment since before, during and after 2011 uprisings. Hence, beyond some superficial similarities, the so-called “collective political mind” in North Africa is context-specific and far from being identical across all North African Societies. As result North African countries seem to follow divergent trajectories of change in the post Arab uprising era (Revolution, anti-revolution, democratic transition, status quo, or the so-called third way of reform.).

Of all the issues that are on the agenda of social scientists interested in political change in North Africa, examining the complex interplay between values and institutions seems to be a top priority for the time being. Assessing the quality of change brought about by the Arab uprisings is, therefore, of paramount importance. This requires an exploration of the various ways demands for change from below impacted the social system within which protest took place. It also entails an in-depth analysis of the extent to which these demands for change are reshaping the so-called “collective political mind” and to investigate how the latter accommodates these demands for change.

Social scientists interested in taking part in this debate are invited to submit their abstracts on topics that include, but are not limited to, the following:

Values and Elections: To what extent did the post-Arab spring elections contribute to the consolidation of democracy, allowing for a move from a putative internalization of theory to a praxis that champions values?

Values and Public Policies: To what extent did the elections organized in the context of the Arab uprisings contribute to the emergence of rationalised public policies?

Protest and Protesters’ Values: Do actors learn from political conflict? What are the main features of the alleged shift in the values of protesters? Are there any lessons learnt from the uprising in terms of social conflict management?

Values and the Role of Religion: How did the rise of Islamists affect the religious discourse and the way in which religion is used in politics? To what extent did the alleged “failure” of Islamists in North African post 2011 governments cause disenchantment with religion and religious discourse? What impact (if any) does the alleged disenchantment have on democratisation in North African societies?

Conference coordinators:

Mohamed El Hachimi, Chouaib Doukkali University, Senior Research Fellow at the CERSS, Rabat.

Scientific Committee:

  • Abdallah Saaf , Director, CERSS
  • Laurence Whitehead, Oxford University, UK
  • Youcef Bouandel, Qatar University, Doha
  • Hassan Tariq, Mohamed V University, Rabat
  • Beatriz Tomé Alonso, Universidad Loyola Andalucía of Seville, Spain
  • Jan Volkel, Arnold Bergstraesser Institute, University of Freiburg, Germany
  • Abdeljabbar Arrach, Political Scientist, Hassan I University, Settat,
  • Nadine Abdallah, American University, Cairo
  • Ahmed Boujdad, Mohamed V university, Rabat
  • Mohammed Masbah, Moroccan Institute for Policy Analysis
  • Abdelhamid Benkhattab, Mohamed V University
  • Khalid El Aref, Mohamed V University, Rabat
  • Larbi Sadiki, Political Scientist, Qatar University, Doha
  • Giulia Cimini, University of Naples L’orientale, Italy
  • Mohamed El Hachimi, Chouaib Doukkali University, El Jadida

Organizing Committee:

  • Abir Ibourk, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung
  • Latifa Cadi, Chouaib Doukkali University, El Jadida
  • Adil Mousabih, Chouaib Doukkali University, El Jadida
  • Abdelhak Saaf, CERSS, Rabat
  • Achraf Tribak, Ibn Zohr University, Agadir
  • Mohamed El Hachimi, Chouaib Doukkali University, El Jadida
  • Hassan Zouaoui, Ibn Zohr University, Agadir
  • Abdelilah Amine , Ibn Zohr University, Agadir
  • Abdeljabbar Arrach, Hassan I University, Settat
  • Mustapha El Mnasfi, Centre Jacques Berque, Rabat
  • Mohamed Bensaleh, Ecole d’Economie et de Gouvernance de Rabat

Important Dates:

May 27, 2019: sending the call for papersJuly 07, 2019 : Deadline for sending the abstract: A one-page abstract in Word.doc format, Times New Roman 12, 1.5 spacing size that highlights the importance of the subject, and specifies the theory (ies), the method (s) and the data, as well as the expected results and the issues to be discussed. July 10, 2019: Notification of the selected abstractsOctober 6, 2019: Deadline for the submission of the final version. October 25/26, 2019: Conference holding.

Abstracts should be sent to:

Submission Rules:Abstracts:- Title-Name of Author, status, affiliation, email-Abstract (1 page)-key words-12 Times New Roman, simple spacingFinal Papers :-The final papers should be between 7 000 and 9 000 words, without counting the abstract and the bibliography.-Format: 12 Times New Roman, simple spacing, margins 2,5.-Titles and subtitles : 1., 1.1., 1.2., 2., 2.1., 2.2., etc.- The paper should be sent in Word Format.- Bibliography: The bibliography should classified in alphabetical order, w Author’s Name, title (book or article), publishing house, date ; and be classified in alphabetical order.

Works cited:

Besley T and Persson T (2017), “Democratic Values and Institutions”

Lipset S M ( 1959) “Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy” , The American Political Science Review, Vol. 53, No. 1.

Ronald F Inglehart (2018) Cultural Evolution, people’s Motivations are Changing, and Reshaping the World, Cambridge University Press

Ticchi D, Verdier T, Vindigm A (2013) “Democracy, Dictatorship and the Cultural Transmission of Political Values” ,


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