Social Mobilization in Morocco: February 20 Movement, Local Tansikiyats, and the Struggle for Real Change?

dc.contributor.advisorLyons, Terrence
dc.contributor.authorHadji, Fatima
dc.creatorHadji, Fatima
dc.descriptionThis work was embargoed by the author and will not be publicly available until August 2016.
dc.descriptionAn embargo extension was requested by the author. This work will not be publicly available until August 2018.
dc.description.abstractThis study examines collective action in Morocco as it emerged in the context of the Arab Spring or what is known in the Moroccan context as the February 20 movement. The aim is to provide an account that reflects what is perceived to be the nature of recent collective action by examining the February 20 movement and its local organizing (known in Arabic as Tansikiyats), and illustrate how Tansikiyats framed grievances to mobilize support. This study therefore argues that the linkages among local organizing committees and a national campaign explain why the February 20 movement succeeded in broadening the political agenda in Morocco. Primary interviews with activists in Morocco and secondary sources provide the data to support the argument that the February 20 movement brought together diverse components that put aside their historical animosities and ideological differences to demand change and open up the political space in Morocco. This finding challenges the assumption that social movements build on formal existing structures as most of social movements scholars argue. For the movement itself, it is the decentralized coordinating committees 'Tansikiyats' that constitute February 20, and their independence allowed them to frame issues locally, yet connect them to the founding principles of the movement (Ardiya Taassissiya). A leaderless movement that refused to formally connect itself to specific structures of either the political leftist parties or religious Islamist movements such as Adl Wal Ihanse is among its characteristics. Furthermore, mobilization depended upon activation of key subjective dimensions of politics, thereby requiring investigation beyond structural dimensions in order to explain the nature of February 20 and its Tansikiyats. This study also found that the February 20 movement marked a turning point in Moroccan politics. The social movement in Morocco, in contrast to the Arab Uprisings in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt, did not seek to replace the monarchical regime. For a long time, Morocco did not recognize the role of 'agency'-- that is citizens in politics. Citizens were regarded as 'subjects' in the constitution and politics was conducted according to this conception. This study finds that the February 20 movement reformulated this view by bringing to the forefront the concept of 'citizenship' and engraving it within the societal consciousness. The February 20 movement did not set out to bring down the regime, but to demand change with less risk. February 20 set out to open the public space for the masses, the political space for more voices, and raise masses' consciousness about politics. The February 20 movement thereby embarked in a journey of ushering new politics in Morocco. In summary, the movement raised the political consciousness of the Moroccan citizen and contributed to claiming the street as a political space. The February 20 movement turned the old Makhzanian narrative on its head by generating a new social contract and pushed citizens to think politically. February 20 pushed for a shift in the political culture through the decentralization and autonomy of its Tansikiyats, and achieved unity within society, across class, and ideological lines. As seen by many observers, February 20 actors embodied a new form of collective politics, one that is not concerned with taking political power, but rather with claiming citizenship rights, pressing multiple demands to democratize society, and challenging the status quo "from-below." This demonstrates the radical nature of the February 20 movement.
dc.rightsCopyright 2015 Fatima Hadji
dc.subjectArab Spring
dc.subjectCollective Action
dc.subjectConflict Resolution
dc.subjectFebruary 20 Movement
dc.subjectSocial Sciences
dc.titleSocial Mobilization in Morocco: February 20 Movement, Local Tansikiyats, and the Struggle for Real Change?
dc.typeDissertation Analysis and Resolution Mason University in Conflict Analysis and Resolution


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