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Adriana Kemp and Talia Margalit

The article examines recent social mobilisations against the planning and building of towers in Tel Aviv to address ongoing debates over the impact of social activism on the neo-liberalisation of urban development in times of neoliberalism’s ‘legitimation crisis.’ Contrary to binary views of ‘neoliberalism vs. resistance’ prevalent in scholarly debates, we look into the uneven ways in which urban mobilisations are conditioned by local configurations of neo-liberalisation, and how, in their turn, they affect neo-liberal practices as they oscillate between resistance and integration. Based on empirical analysis, we argue that while recent mobilisations introduced novel claims and tactics against the institutional methods and decisions that produce urban space, and succeeded in politicizing towers as the flagship of neoliberal urban development, their actions have been reinserted in the deepening neo-liberalisation of the city. Our findings raise broader insights about the ways in which neo-liberalisation processes sit inside society and not above it, as they shape the actors concerned, their positions, and their visions of development.


Nadia Hachimi Alaoui

This chapter examines conflicts of development focusing on the 2015–20 Development Plan for Casablanca, which was the subject of a broad consultation process initiated and implemented by the Wali of Casablanca, the King of Morocco’s direct representative. The study highlights the competing visions, power relationships and struggles that led to the completion of a hundred or so development projects. Unlike studies on urban development in Morocco, which mainly focus on opposition and protest against development projects, or on engendered loyalties and alliances, this chapter highlights the tactical alliances and various mediations that helped define the development plan. This encourages us to understand the state not as a ‘referee’ but as an ‘arena’. The Casablanca development project represents a period when the balance of power and the competing forces at work in Morocco—the interconnected relations of state and society—could be brought up to date.


Ayşe Buğra

Developmentalism refers to a particular ideology marked by a sense of inevitability about the nature of historical change and to political interventions to implement particular strategies of development. The paradox between the ideology of development and development policy challenges the notion of market-led economic progress that proceeds without government intervention and is closely related to social conflicts engendered by economic progress. This chapter approaches capitalism as a socio-economic order where the idea of progress is central to the ideological universe. It also highlights the historically changing and societally different characteristics of capitalism that affect its ideological universe and determine the way conflicts engendered by progress are handled through political intervention. It argues that the concept of developmentalism needs to be examined with reference to the political choices that are situated in different historical varieties of capitalism and that differ in the ways in which they shape the character of economic processes and in their impact on the life and livelihood of the individual. This argument is situated in an analytical frame built by drawing on Karl Polanyi’s work and by remembering the historical trends in development economics, and is developed through a case study on Turkey that shows the variations in the relationship between the economy and politics in different historical periods.


Elena Vezzadini

This chapter focuses on conflicts of development from the point of view of the entanglement between development, labour legislation, and labour conflicts during the time of decolonisation. It describes the origins of the trade union movement in Sudan, created after the Second World War, and covers the history of that movement up until 1952, the year in which its curve of radicalisation was stopped and it turned towards more conciliatory labour relations. Dwelling on internal sources emanating from the colonial government and the various labour attachés sent to Khartoum, the chapter aims to shed light on the reciprocal influences and feedback effect between the three main actors of these conflicts: the British government, whose agenda set colonial labour welfare as a top priority; a reluctant Sudanese government accustomed to decades of laissez-faire in matters of labour; and the workers, who quite suddenly discovered that they had the power to compel the government to listen to their demands.


Fariba Adelkhah

Foreign aid provided for the (re)construction of the Afghan state since 2001 has, paradoxically, intensified the ‘ethnicisation’ and sectarianisation of economic and political relations, contradicting the criteria of good governance advocated by donors. Conflicts apparently related to tradition and identity have become more common and indeed point to more fundamental contradictions between the culturalist representation of Afghan society and the effects of the country’s integration into the world capitalist economy. Thus, viewing Islamic radicalisation, ethnic polarisation or tribal atavism as responsible for the social and political violence in Afghanistan gives an incomplete picture of the situation as it ignores transformations in society and the new challenges of this supposedly traditional conflict.


Nora Lafi

The Ottoman province of Tunis between the 1850s and its integration into the French colonial sphere in the 1880s, was marked by the emergence of new issues directly arising from an international configuration undergoing profound change. This chapter aims to analyse the relationship between economic development, geopolitics and local issues in the last decades during which the province belonged to the Empire. It will home in on an emblematic conflict, one related to the fate of workers and artisans in fez factories as they protested against what they saw as unfair competition imposed by the European powers, and against the industrialisation that followed the mechanisation of production. These new operating conditions, in a market subject to the growing dominance of foreign trade and to instability in local production, gave rise to many protests. This chapter endeavours to compare and contrast the different levels and scales of this sector, to explain the impact of a new global dimension on local balances and the vectors of a new form of foreign interference. These conflicts also involved different ways of negotiating the reformed relationship between the Ottoman Empire and its province of Tunis in the face of the threat of ever-increasing foreign domination and colonisation. Focusing on the voices of the most modest local players, who spoke out to condemn the deterioration of their living conditions, and on the local and international context, the chapter aims to reveal the dynamic interrelation between different levels and issues, and individual destinies and wider perspectives, at a time of great historical change.

Yanshuang Zhang

The proliferation of social media in China has provided traditional religious authorities with multifarious digital features to revitalise and reinforce their practices and beliefs. However, under the authoritative political system different religions pick up the new media to varying degrees, thereby showing different characteristic and style in their social media use. This paper examines the public discourse about Buddhism and Christianity (two of the great official religions in China) on China’s largest microblogging platform-Sina Weibo, and seeks to reveal a distinct landscape of religious online public in China. Through a close look at the social media posts aided by a text analytics software, Leximancer, this paper comparatively investigates several issues related to the Buddhism and Christianity online publics, such as religious networks, interactions between involved actors, the economics and politics of religion, and the role of religious charitable organizations. The result supports Campbell’s proposition on digital religion that religious groups typically do not reject new technologies, but rather undergo a sophisticated negotiation process in accord with their communal norms and beliefs. It also reveals that in China a secular Buddhism directly contributes to a prosperous ‘temple economy’ while tension still exists between Christianity and the Chinese state due to ideological discrepancy. The paper further points out the possible direction for this nascent research field.

Seyedeh Behnaz Hosseini

This article presents a nuanced approach for qualitative research on the Internet, based on the synthesis of qualitative data-gathering methodologies both online and offline, and contributes to recent knowledge of changing practices within Yārsāni communities around the world. Yārsān is a religious belief of Indo-Iranian origin that traces back to Hooraman, a region in Iranian Kurdistan. Yārsān thought, which Islamic Shiite authorities treat as heretical, has extensively used processes of adaptation and strategies of survival throughout the course of its history.

The research presented here makes a case for the significance of the Internet and, more specifically, social network sites in connecting Yārsānis in their homelands and in the diaspora. How does Facebook provide a new space for this minority group to disclose their beliefs to the world, thereby reassessing the clandestine nature of their religion, which is a tenet required by traditional belief and defined by their adage, “don’t tell the secret”?

Polikarpos Karamouzis and Emmanuel Fokides

This study analyzes the profile of Greek university students who will be teaching courses related to religion when they become practitioners at primary school and high school level, in relation to their views on technology. For this purpose, four factors were examined: religious beliefs, use of technology, attitude towards technology, and their views regarding the use of technology for the dissemination of religious beliefs. The sample comprised of 570 students studying at Departments of Theology and Primary School Education at Greek universities. The data analysis revealed that participants, in general, are not highly religious. Both believers and non-believers seem to have a positive attitude towards technology, which they are willing to use in an educational context. Furthermore, they do not believe that religion and technology contradict each other. The implications of the findings are also discussed.