Edited by Irene Bono and Béatrice Hibou
Based on observation of the activities of the female members of the Moroccan Islamist movement Justice and Spirituality (Al Adl Wal Ihsane, awi) at neighbourhood level, this chapter analyses the conception of development fostered by this movement and tries to answer the following questions: how do conflicting visions of development (those of awi, the authorities and other associations) live together in the same neighbourhood, and what do the interactions between these different active participants tell us about modes of government on the local scale? If we view Islamists as agents of human development, and religious education and spirituality as important elements in this development, we see how complex the social and political relations are that the Islamist movement has with power and with society as a whole. The interactions of Islamist movements with various local players highlight a dialectic between conflict and consensus based on a ‘Western’ hegemonic model of development. This dialectic allows other strategies to find expression—strategies that flourish in daily activities—and other conceptions of what is seen as a ‘good’ way of conducting one’s life. Intentional or not, strategies of discharge, differentiation, discretion, competition or compliance, and the alternative modes of governance and conduct of life that this article highlights, show that the relationships between different players cannot be reduced just to conflict or consensus, and that their behaviour cannot be explained solely as a form of rejection or acceptance. The neo-liberal paradigm of development can comprise both a common ground and a place of conflict between quite different models of society.
The Sudanese Islamist experiment is far from having put an end to the conflict-ridden history of the country, despite the South achieving independence in July 2011. However, a higher degree of regional integration outside the South was one of the stated aims of the Islamists when they came to power in 1989. This chapter will investigate the apparent paradox by exploring the experiments in development undertaken by Sudanese Islamists during their first republic (1989–2011) on the basis of the study of certain social practices they actively encouraged, namely evergetism and philanthropy. It is based on an analysis of the charitable practices carried out by the main traders in the Sudanese capital’s principal market during the Islamist regime. The regional—more specifically Darfurian—origin of most of these main traders makes it possible to compare what these practices produce in each different territory. The chapter shows that this encouragement, which is not part of any specific plan thought up by the Islamists, leads to different forms of development that vary depending on the local and human contexts in which the actors live, and also the way they conceive their roles within in the circles to which they belong. It then highlights how these variations produce extremely disparate and often conflict-ridden results, which ultimately pursue the asymmetric formation of the Sudanese state, prolonging a historical trajectory that has produced injustice and generated conflict (Figure 11.1).
This chapter analyses the links between development and conflict in the context of the protest movements that have arisen in response to the increasing commodification of collective land in Morocco. The transfer of this land, a transfer accompanied by a discourse linking the economic development of collective land to human and social development promoted by the state, renders visible—by exacerbating them—the inequalities inherent in the land tenure system introduced in the colonial era. Among the many forms of inequality, those relating to women’s rights have become particularly important on the political scene thanks to action taken by a particular women’s protest movement. This movement has managed to forge status for itself as a legitimate protest movement and is also contributing to the (re)creation of social boundaries based on the rhetoric of autochthony and on the politicisation of social inequalities based on tribal affiliation.
Irene Bono and Béatrice Hibou
Conflict and development are commonly understood as two contradictory phenomena. Some apparently self-evident ideas, such as gaps in development being a source of conflict and social and political conflict being a major obstacle to development, have been revitalised by the debate about the Arab Spring and used to orient development projects in the mena region. This chapter aims to explore a radically different perspective: we conceive development as a complex social relationship, involving a vast constellation of actors, interests, logics, spaces, causalities and temporalities, and we consider conflict in a multidimensional sense, as an expression of struggle, competition, tension, resistance, opposition and critique. Conceived in these terms, conflict and development appear to be strictly interlinked rather than opposites. Three particular configurations characterise development as a ‘battlefield’: conflicts that create consensus around development; consensus as an expression of conflict; and the definition of legitimate conflicts. There is special focus on the interconnection between different temporal layers characterising the formation of the state and the transformation of capitalism, and the consequences of development for society, the assertion of sovereignty, the definition of social order and how people conduct their lives. This examination of the links between development and conflict thus sheds fresh light on injustice, inequality, modes of government and on how people interpret and live in political society far beyond the mena region.
The rise of Islamists in Arab countries has often been explained by their capacity to offer an alternative path of development, based on a religious vision and on a parallel welfare sector, challenging post-independence developmentalist states. Taking the case of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and building on ethnographic fieldwork, this chapter aims to contribute to this debate, exploring how conflict and cooperation were deeply intertwined in the relationships between this movement and Mubarak’s regime. Rather than postulating any structural polarisation, or—in contrast—any simplistic authoritarian coalition, the author argues that the vision of two models of development opposing one another unravels when we move from abstract approaches towards empirical studies. On the ground, both the Muslim Brotherhood and the former regime elites participated in what the author calls the politics of ‘goodness’ (khayr), which she defines as a conflictual consensus built on entrenched welfare networks, and on an imaginary matrix mixing various discursive repertoires of state developmentalism and religious welfare. The chapter also elaborates an interpretative framework to aid understanding of the sudden rise and fall of the Brotherhood in the post-2011 period, showing that, beyond its failure, what is at stake is the breakdown of the politics of ‘goodness’ altogether.