February 18, 2021
Episode 110: Centralization and Decentralization in the Middle East and North Africa
In this podcast on local governance in Morocco and Jordan, Dr. Janine A. Clark, Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto, examines how decentralization and centralization mechanisms are implemented at the municipal level. She asks why Morocco decentralized while Jordan did not. Relying on the history of electoral politics and municipal laws in both countries, her research covers the periods from Morocco's independence until 2015, and from 1995 to 2015 in Jordan. Her work specifically considers the 2009 municipal elections in Morocco, and the 2007 municipal elections in Jordan. Clark argues that decentralization processes are determined by governments' coalition strategies since regimes tend to build alliances with certain social groups that keep them in power through elite capture. This, decentralization offers numerous opportunities for local elites to pursue their interests. Clark too shows how decentralization stabilizes authoritarian regimes while centralization can have destabilizing effects.
Janina A. Clark. is author of Local Politics in Jordan and Morocco (Columbia University Press, 2018), Islam, Charity, and Activism: Middle-Class Networks and Social Welfare in Egypt, Jordan, and Yemen (Indiana University Press, 2004) and co-editor of Economic Liberalization, Democratization and Civil Society in the Developing World (Palgrave, 2000), and of numerous single and co-authored articles. She is editor-in-chief of Middle East Law and Governance (MELG).
This episode is part of the Society & Politics in the Maghrib series and was recorded on January 13th, 2020 at the Centre d'Études Maghrébines à Tunis (CEMAT).
Posted by: Hayet Lansari, Librarian, Outreach Coordinator, Content Curator (CEMA).