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The Great Patron A reinterpretation of tribal rebellions

  • Ernest Gellner

The original attempt to interpret the post-independence tribal unrest was first published in the European Journal of Sociology in 1962 (1). Its evidence was drawn primarily from the first half decade of Moroccan independence. It sought to explain certain oddities of Moroccan political life of the period.

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(1) Gellner, E., Patterns of Rural Rebellion in Morocco: tribes as minorities, Archiv. europ. sociol., III (1962), 297311.

(2) The holy lineage in the recesses of the Atlas mountains, which I investigated, provided local services of arbitration and mediation to the tribal groups. But at one period, at the turn of the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries, it looked as if it might start a wider movement and become influential on a national scale. But these ambitions were scotched: « Un jour, on manda Sidi Youssef [leader of this movement] à la cour […] sous prétexte de lui rendre honneur; on s'empara de sa personne, et il fut mis à mort […] » Rinn, Louis, Marabouts et Khouan (Alger 1884), p. 391.

How different is this, in principle, from the Ben Barka affaire?

* My observations are heavily indebted to a number of social scientists and observers of Morocco, notably Patrice Blacque-Belair, Ken Brown, Terry Burke, Grigori Lazarev, Rémy Leveau, Clement Moore, Stuart Schaar, John Waterbury, William Zartman, and others. But, of course, none of them can be held responsible for my views and errors.

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European Journal of Sociology / Archives Européennes de Sociologie
  • ISSN: 0003-9756
  • EISSN: 1474-0583
  • URL: /core/journals/european-journal-of-sociology-archives-europeennes-de-sociologie
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