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Civil society, Islamism and democratisation: the case of Morocco

Cavatorta, Francesco (2006) Civil society, Islamism and democratisation: the case of Morocco. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 44 (2). pp. 203-222. ISSN 1469-7777

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The positive role that an active civil society plays in processes of democratisation is often highlighted in the literature. However, when it comes to the Middle East and North Africa, such activism is considered to be detrimental to democratisation because the predominant role is played by Islamist groups. The explanation for this rests with the perceived ‘uncivil’ and undemocratic Islamist ethos of such groups. This paper challenges this assumption and argues that Islamist associations can be a potential force for democratisation for three reasons. First, they are capable of political learning; secondly, they generate secular civil society activism as a response to their activities, increasing the number of actors in the political and social system; and finally, they can cooperate with other civil society groups on a number of issues, given that they are all subject to the same authoritarian constraints. The paper focuses in particular on the case of Morocco and the Islamist group Jamiat al-Adl wal-Ihsan.

Item Type:Article (Published)
Uncontrolled Keywords:democratisation; Middle East; North Africa; Morocco; Islamist groups; Islamism; Jamiat al-Adl wal-Ihsan;
Subjects:Social Sciences > Political science
DCU Faculties and Centres:Research Initiatives and Centres > Centre for International Studies (CIS)
DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Science > School of Law and Government
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
Official URL:
Copyright Information:Copyright © 2006 Cambridge University Press
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:475
Deposited On:26 May 2008 by DORAS Administrator. Last Modified 16 Feb 2009 14:14

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