Une si longue absence : Notes sur la politicité de la rue en Algérie [Such a long absence: On street politicity in Algeria].
Refereed Article, 2020
Hadj-Moussa, R., & Derradji, I. (2020). Une si longue absence : Notes sur la politicité de la rue en Algérie [Such a long absence: On street politicity in Algeria]. Maghreb - Machrek, 245(3), 13–32.
The street has long been off limits for Algerians. When mentioned, it is often in relation to angry, scattered, and uncontrollable groups demanding that the regime respond to their demands. However, this street is also and more deeply characterized by a deafening silence. Indeed, before the Hirak popular protest movement, Algiers, like most urban centers, had become a ghost of itself.This article examines the restrictions placed upon associative life and “ordinary” citizens’ right of expression, and problematizes the conception of the political that underlies the understanding of the “Algerian street.” We begin by examining the constitutionalist conception of the political, whose limits can be clearly seen today. We start by analyzing the relationships between the rulers and the governed, taking into account the ruptures between the successive Algerian political regimes and the “population.” Understood from a point of view that privileges the state, this disjunction has reinforced the idea that society has been depoliticized. Dwelling too much on the state and its forms of predation has meant that change within society (or activated by it) has been neglected, as have temporality and the effects of these changes. Next, we turn to look at the “peripheral” street in order to describe the bases upon which the street has become “regionalized,” something that has unexpectedly led to the spread of the idea of the “political street.” Finally, we explore the meaning of the Hirak movement’s street politicity and its various expressions of citizenship.