"This is the rare dive into Moroccan politics that not only takes ‘the street’ seriously, but also divulges a bigger theoretical lesson in how protest movements live and die. Through rich qualitative evidence, Badran shows how Morocco’s monarchy and ideological divides sabotaged the February 20 youth network during the Arab Uprisings."—Sean Yom, author of From Resilience to Revolution: How Foreign Interventions Destabilize the Middle East
"An excellent contribution to the literature. Badran is to be commended for a well-written, deeply researched, and persuasive treatment. It’s readable and compelling."—Gregory White, Mary Huggins Gamble Professor of Government, Smith College
"Badran’s Killing Contention tracks the February 20th Movement’s fate through the tools of political science. Theory and contemporary frameworks are underpinned by a remarkable body of in-person interviews of those who made their own history, now no longer disappearing into silence."—James Miller, Professor Emeritus, Clemson University
"A valuable contribution to our knowledge of the less understood protests in Morocco and adds nuance to the role that repression, reform, and intra-movement dynamics play in the mobilization-demobilization cycle of a social movement."—Michael Wuthrich, author of National Elections in Turkey: People, Politics, and the Party System
Like other countries in the Middle East and North Africa, Moroccans were inspired by the events in Tunisia and Egypt in 2011. Nine days after the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, thousands of Moroccans began protesting in the capital of Rabat on February 20. However, unlike other countries, Moroccans did not call for the overthrow of the king or the regime. Instead, Moroccan protesters initially demanded reforms to the constitution, and, specifically, a transition from an executive monarchy to a democratic parliamentary monarchy.
Drawing upon narratives from the primary activists involved in protests, Badran examines the Moroccan movement to understand why it failed to escalate in the same way that others in the region did. He finds that the state’s strategy of offering a series of reforms along with limited repression eventually ended the protest movement. Badran develops a framework to analyze how internal social movement dynamics along with regime strategies and regional events led to successful, and relatively peaceful, demobilization. Based on nine months of fieldwork, Killing Contention deepens our understanding of modern political movements and the complicated factors that lead to their demise.
Sammy Zeyad Badran is assistant professor of international studies at American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.
6 x 9, 224 pages, 3 black and white illustrations