Managing Instability in Algeria

Elites and Political Change since 1995

By Isabelle Werenfels

© 2007 – Routledge

232 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415558860
pub: 2009-06-26
US Dollars$54.95
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Hardback: 9780415403443
pub: 2007-03-15
US Dollars$168.00
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About the Book

This topical new book seeks to understand the relationship between elite dynamics and strategies and the lack of profound political change in Algeria after 1995, when the country’s military rulers returned to electoral processes.

Using evidence from extensive fieldwork, Isabelle Werenfels exposes successful survival strategies of an opaque authoritarian elite in a changing domestic and international environment. The main focus is on:

  • the changing balance of power between different elite segments
  • the modes of generation change and the different emerging young elite types
  • constraints, obligations and opportunities arising from elite embeddings in clienteles networks and in specific social and economic structures.

Building rare evidence from fieldwork into a multidisciplinary analytical framework, this book presents a significant input to the more general literature on transition processes and is particularly relevant as the West pushes for democratic reforms in the Middle East and North Africa.

Reviews

'This is a superbly crafted study of its fragmented elite; it is as rigorous as the fluid subject matter allows… This book is a must read for students of comparative politics and political economy as well as Algeria specialists. It offers a thick, rich description of the contradictory values and practices that tend to transform rhetorical reformers into conservative rent-seekers.' - Clement M. Henry, Middle East Journal, Vol. 62, No. 1, Winter 2008

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Elites and the Question of Transition in Algeria: Theoretical and Methodological Challenges 2. The Shaping of the Algerian Political System and Its Elites 3. The Politically Relevant Elite 1995-2004: Structures, Actors, Dynamics 4. The Emergence of a New Elite Generation: Recruitment Mechanisms and Elite Types 5. Factors Structuring Elite Corridors of Action 6. Prospects for Change

About the Author

Isabelle Werenfels is a research associate at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), and has lectured at Freie Universität, Berlin. Her recent publications in English and German deal with the question of democratization and with Islamist movements in the Maghreb region.

About the Series

History and Society in the Islamic World

Contemporary events in the Islamic world dominate the headlines and emphasise the crises of the Middle East and North Africa, yet the Islamic World is far larger and more varied than we realise. Current affairs there too mask the underlying trends and values that have, over time, created a fascinating and complex world. This new series is intended to reveal that other Islamic reality by looking at its history and society over the ages, as well as at the contemporary scene. It will also reach far further afield, bringing in Central Asia and the Far East as part of a cultural space sharing common values and beliefs but manifesting a vast diversity of experience and social order.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POL014000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Law Enforcement
POL025000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Leadership
POL042000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / General