Differential Forms of Politicization and Mutual Acculturation in an Authoritarian Context

By Mounia Bennani-Chraïbi

The ethnographic observation of differential forms of politicization during an electoral campaign in a changing authoritarian context is an ideal means of analyzing a number of processes. Empirically, it enables us to observe the actors’ diverse ways of appropriating the electoral moment, a Moroccan leftist party’s attempts to adjust to the loss of its electoral base and the transformations of the electoral market. It also enables us to observe a one-time reversal of the symbolic voting restrictions, in correlation with the desertion of the polls by the those best equipped to participate, both culturally and materially, and with the transformation of the urban popular vote. In theoretical terms, examination of such ongoing processes – before their stabilization – allows us to follow the interplay between the work on political clientelism and on politicization, at the intersection of sociohistorical and political sociological approaches, in authoritarian and democratic contexts. It demonstrates the value of moving beyond the opposition between restrictive and extensive conceptions of politicization, to grasp the process in situ of differential forms of the politicization of actors, registers and practices.

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