Sonia MBarek Rais: The stakes, the challenges and the perspectives of the cultural sphere in the democratization process in the Maghreb

On The January 6, 2020

10h00 - 12h00
26, Place Bellecour - 69002 Lyon
Salle de réunion - Allée A - 1er étage

This presentation is based on the first chapter of Sonia Mbarek-Rais‘s study project "Culture, politics and democracy in the Maghreb, issues, challenges and perspectives".

Maghreb ?
The Maghreb literally means "the land of the setting sun". Historically, it has brought together three countries, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. However, since the creation of the Arab Maghreb Union, UMA in 1989, two other countries have been added, Libya, and Mauritania.
We focus our study in this chapter on the issues, challenges and perspectives of culture in the democratization process in the Maghreb. Our study is based on a historical-political analysis, built on a comparative approach to cultural policies in the five Maghreb countries, in articulation with the past contexts of independence. Analysis that will allow us to detect the specificities of a Maghreb society between on the one hand, the homogeneity of a common cultural history and, on the other hand, the heterogeneity of national and regional cultural and political constructions and reconstructions.
Such specificities are revealed over the decades mainly by four factors: First, the cultural ambivalence marked by the tension between tradition and modernity, and leading to a deep identity crisis. Second, a contrasting image between human potential and a very rich, but largely unknown, plural, tangible and intangible cultural capital. Third, a difficult adaptation to democratic culture. Fourth, an inactivated Maghreb integration.
The transversal cultural dimension is essential today, given the socio-cultural upheavals and political deconstructions / reconstructions experienced over the past decade in the Maghreb. New issues linked in particular to the status of the culture of its relationship to the state and society, are raised and confronted with the paradigm of democratic transition. Those perspectives imply reaffirming the global dimension of culture and cultural policies. First as a human right, which immunizes all citizens, and is one of the main bulwarks of democracy. Then as an added value both symbolic and economic. Finally, the necessary cultural and strategic redesign of Maghreb integration policies, based particularly on the innovative and creative genius of the Maghreb, and a participative and united cultural governance.

Sonia MBarek is Assistant Professor at the University of Tunis (ISMT) since 2004 and Associate Researcher at IRMC (2018) Specialized in human rights copyright, public policy of culture and sociology of international relations. She is a 2019/2020 Fellow at the Collegium de Lyon.