Historical Materialism , volume 12:4 (231–260) © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2004 Also available online – www.brill.nl Alejandro Colás The Re-Invention of Populism: Islamist Responses to Capitalist Development in the Contemporary Maghreb Like many other parts of the erstwhile Third World, the Maghreb region of northwest Africa has lived under a general socio-economic and political crisis since the early 1980s. The three major states of the western-most reaches of the Arab world – Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia – have witnessed profound socio-economic and political upheavals (in Algeria amounting to a civil war in all but name), which have tested the resolve of both state and society for over a generation. One of the most powerful responses to this general crisis has come in the guise of Islamism. As will be indicated below, the notion of ‘Islamism’ is an abbreviated and generic term covering a variegated phenomenon, which nonetheless encapsulates the appropriation of the precepts and civilisational markers of Islam for the purposes of political action and mobilisation. The resurgence of Islamism as a sociopolitical force in the Maghreb poses a number of conceptual and practical challenges to any analysis of the phenomenon, ranging from the validity of existing
Historical Materialism – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2004
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