The ‘subaltern’ foreign policies of North African countries: old and new responses to economic dependence, regional insecurity and domestic political change

Irene Fernández-Molina*, Laura Feliu, Miguel Hernando de Larramendi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article introduces the special issue by explaining why researching change and continuity in the foreign policies of North African states is relevant in spite of these countries’ peripheral and ‘subaltern’ position within the global system. It situates the special issue’s content in the context of the extant academic literature on the foreign policies of dependent/Third World/Global South countries, the foreign policies of MENA states and the consequences of the 2011 Arab uprisings in terms of international relations. It then moves on to discuss the case study selection by outlining key commonalities and differences between Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt in terms of historical, political and economic foreign policy determinants. The country case studies each focus on a particular level of analysis, from the global–Tunisia’s financial predicaments and foreign debt negotiations–through the (sub)regional–Egypt’s relationship of necessity with Saudi Arabia, Algeria’s half-hearted policies towards the conflicts in Libya and Mali–to the domestic sphere–Morocco’s power balance between the monarchy and the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) heading the government, Libya’s extreme state weakness and internal power competition among proliferating private actors –, reaching also the deeper non-state societal level–Mauritania’s new forms of social activism questioning the official religious identity and the socio-political makeup of the state. The last part of the introduction critically relates the empirical findings of the special issue to theoretical debates on subalternity in International Relations and Mohammed Ayoob’s subaltern realism in particular.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)356-375
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of North African Studies
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2019

Keywords

  • Arab uprisings
  • dependence
  • Foreign policy
  • North Africa
  • subaltern realism
  • subalternity

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