Algeria: Nation, Culture and Transnationalism covers a specific period of time (1988-2013) that has taken on a significantly different socio-political configuration to that of the first 25 years of post-independence Algeria (1962-1987). Since 1988, Algeria has seen democratic contestation, civil conflict between state and Islamist parties and, over the past 10 years, an uneasy peace. It was in the same period that the country endured economic decline and a painful transition to a more liberal economy. Less than twenty years ago Algeria was seen as a ‘failed state’ yet it is now perceived as having a role in the ‘stabilization’ of North Africa in the wake of the Arab Spring. Central to this transformation has been a turn in Algeria’s economic fortunes. The Algerian army and political elite have, over the past 10 years, hugely benefitted from revenues derived from its hydrocarbon exports and use such revenues to manage a society in which a majority depend on state subsidies and public sector employment.
Contemporary Algeria, argues Hugh Roberts (2003), is marked by an emerging post-nationalism and a sense that the elite has lost the political bearings that shaped the nation after 1962. There is an on-going tension generated by official positions that remain vigorously centripetal and a more informal, local yet transnational, dynamics that is often centrifugal in effect. The result is a society characterised by a range of oppositions that bear upon the evolution of the state and the lives of ordinary Algerians. Algeria has been dramatically marked by competing forces: state nationalism and grassroots nationalist disenchantment; Islamism and a version of Islam that accommodates greater plurality; a national economy — and this includes cultural production — that is responding to globalization; the conflict of the 1990s and its contemporary legacy. The contributions to this book focus on the impact of such forces across a range of interests in contemporary Algeria.
Patrick Crowley teaches French at University College Cork. He is the author of 'Pierre Michon: The Afterlife of Names' (Peter Lang, 2007). Together with Paul Hegarty he is co-editor of 'Formless: Ways In and Out of Form' (Peter Lang, 2005) and, with Silvia Ross and Noreen Humble, 'Mediterranean Travels: Writing Self and Other from the Ancient World to the Contemporary' (Maney, 2011).
239 x 163 mm
April 3, 2017
Francophone Postcolonial Studies 8