Morocco's Hirak al-Rif Movement: "Youths of the Neighbourhood" as Innovative Protesters?


Abstract


This article examines how protesters produce new tactics by focusing specifically on Hirak Al-Rif, a protest movement which took place in Morocco in 2016–2017. Drawing on several sources (e.g. semi-structured interviews, non-participant observations, live-streamed Facebook videos, and digital traces), the article shows how new tactics can derive from routine activities and, by focusing on the role of newcomers, suggests to go beyond a strictly top-down model of mobilisations. Newcomers relied on everyday routines at the neighbourhood level and amplified the dynamic of protests in a way that went beyond the initial expectations of core activists. Tactical innovations can thus be fostered through pressures and reappropriations enacted "from below", which bind core activists to the wider base of the movement through moral obligations. Biographical experiences, prior bonds, and the individuals' positions in the mobilisation networks also prove to be relevant matters in the plural and contingent making of tactical innovations.

Keywords: Morocco; newcomers; protest movements; tactical innovation; youth activism

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