SUMMARY:This panel brings together political scientists, political economists, and international affairs specialists with decades of experience with field research in the Maghreb using local languages to address a set of geopolitical disruptions and realignments aggravated and accelerated by the global pandemic and economic downtown. Each panelist uses a different methodology and theoretical approach to address and overlapping set of disruptions, shifts, and transformations related to vestigial superpower rivalry and decline still motivated by hegemonic assumptions and impulses, post-colonial cross-regional rivalries attempting to fill real and imagined vacuums, and new economic arrangements driven largely or entirely by international rather than local needs, structures, and realities. The Maghreb is experiencing in various domains rapid, disruptive change, and, in others, perceived forward motion with no improvements, a kind of running in place, or in some cases falling further behind. Much of what is occurring is driven by outside agendas, competitions, and distortions, while the Maghreb countries are constrained by their own economic crises and security imperatives to choose between lesser evils or accept subordinating their own interests to structural realities, external shocks and conditions, and even predatory behaviors beyond their control. Increasing interdependence has done little to increase parity in purpose or production. Worse, old tropes and frameworks of interpretation are rejuvenated and reinjected into changing circumstances in a sometimes desperate and always ill-informed attempt to explain the new and unfamiliar in comfortable, familiar, distorting ways. Conflicting national interests and agendas of analysis then inject themselves into assistance and interventions at every level, leading to disappointing contortions to fit proverbial external square pegs into Maghrebi round containers that often have to morph to accommodate the intrusions. Worse, all sides blame the others for unintelligibility and corrupt purposes, when in fact many of the views and disconnects are well-intentioned, progressive, and value-based, but suffer from problems afflicting observers and assisters as much as the observed and the assisted. And still worse, cooperative analysis and development assistance often become iterative Abilene paradoxes of trying to graft agendas onto agendas that are rarely informed by honest ground-truthing, open-ended needs analysis, and truly participatory program design. Several conceptual, interpretive, and practical solutions are offered by panel participants ranging from more self-aware, self-reflective and historically informed analysis, to greater economic diversification and self-reliance, to program design and intervention grounded in local life narratives and lived experience.
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Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Discussant;
(Emeritus University of Texas at Austin)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter; Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter; Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;
(KEDGE Business School)
Yahia H. Zoubir is Professor of International Studies and International Management, and Director of Research in Geopolitics at KEDGE Business School (formerly EUROMED MANAGEMENT), Marseille, France. His recent works include, Global Security Watch: The...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;
(Catholic University of the Sacred Heart)