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Historical and Unhistorical Approaches to the Problem of Identity in Algeria


(based on a paper given to a conference on 'Identity and Difference in the Maghreb today' at the Institut Française du Royaume-Uni, 6th March 1993, published autumn 1993. The essay appears as chapter seven of The Battlefield, Algeria)


"At this point I can no longer avoid actually answering the question how one becomes what one is...That one becomes what one is presupposes that one does not have the remotest idea what one is..." (Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo) (1)



It cannot be disputed that one aspect of the current crisis in Algeria is an identity crisis. One may regret the fact, as I do, and one may regard it as an artificially contrived fact to a very great extent, which is certainly the view which I take of the matter, but the fact itself can not be denied.

Nor can it be denied that it matters. It is entirely possible that the controversies over principles of economic organisation and even over the character of the political system which have preoccupied Algeria's politicians over the last five years or more would have been resolved without the massive breakdown of order and the resort to armed rebellion which have been taking place over the last eighteen months on a scale unprecedented since Independence, were it not the case that the arguments over these matters have been complicated by arguments over identity.

Identity is a premise of loyalty, and loyalty is an integral element of the sentiment of political obligation upon which the orderly survival of every state depends. Although the Algerian state may still be said to exist in some sense or other, its existence ceased to be orderly some time ago, and while its current rulers may prove capable of restoring an orderly existence to it, it is also possible that they will fail to do this, and even precipitate its disintegration in a full scale civil war (from which, of course, a more effective and functional Algerian state might subsequently be born).

It might therefore be thought that a resolution of Algeria's identity crisis is required as the precondition of the restoration of the People's loyalty to the state. This is very doubtful, as a moment's thought should show. It is almost certainly the case that the reverse is true, and that in order to preserve a general sentiment of loyalty to the state it was vital to avoid the onset of an identity crisis in the first place, by ensuring that the question of identity - that is, the cultural issue in general - was not politicised to the extent that it overshadowed other issues. But it is now too late to say this to any purpose, since the great achievement of Chadli Bendjedid's disastrous thirteen years as President was to ensure the poisonous politicisation of the cultural question as a diversion from his régime's mishandling of the social and economic question.

We are therefore left with the results of this sustained misgovernment to contemplate, and the necessity of understanding what the reckless politicisation of the cultural issue has given rise to.


Unhistorical conceptions of identity

Because the diversity and complexity of Algerian society have furnished grounds for several distinct conceptions of cultural identity, the extreme politicisation of the cultural question has ensured that the political arena has been dominated by the competition between rival conceptions of identity at the expense of the sentiment of a common Algerian identity to which a general loyalty could be effectively affirmed other than through the formal procedures of the one-party system. In consequence, once that system had been broken by President Chadli in 1988-1989, the orderly conduct of controversy over other matters had been made impossible, and the survival of the state put in doubt.

The conceptions of identity which have developed have all been unhistorical conceptions. Each of them has involved an unqualified, uncompromising - in a word, absolute - assertion of an identity which is held to be long established if not positively ancient, and which is tacitly expected to prove eternal if it is not effectively oppressed, that is, if it is asserted successfully.

An early example of such an assertion of identity was provided by Ahmed Ben Bella immediately after his release from French custody in the spring of 1962. Arriving with his former prison companions at Tunis airport, where they were awaited by President Bourguiba and the Tunisian government, he stepped to the microphone and with great vigour proclaimed "Nous sommes des Arabes! Nous sommes des Arabes!! Nous sommes des Arabes!!!" ("We are Arabs! We are Arabs!! We are Arabs!!!"). (2) In doing so, he was, of course, articulating, as was appropriate in the context of a visit to a fraternal Arab country, one of the essential dimensions of the Algerian Revolution, namely the redemption of an Arab land from European domination. But the articulation of this dimension was an exercise in voluntarism as much as a reflection of fact. That this was so was implicitly acknowledged by one of the Algerian ministers in his entourage, who was heard to murmur ironically, "Ça va finir par être vrai!" ("This will eventually become true!"). (3)

A second example is that provided by the Berberist movement in Kabylia which came to prominence in the massive outburst of unrest in 1980 known since as Thafsut Imazighen (literally, 'the Berber Spring' but more often referred to as 'the Tizi Ouzou Spring', by analogy with the Prague Spring). This movement has asserted not only Kabylia's but, more generally, Algeria's Berber identity in terms which have been every bit as uncompromising - and, we might add, voluntarist - as those in which Ben Bella and others have asserted the Arab identity. (4)

Finally, of course, there is the radical Islamist movement in Algeria, especially since the formation of the Islamic Salvation Front (Front Islamique du Salut, FIS) in 1989. This movement has been an assertion of an identity, among other things. In its conception, Algeria is above all Muslim. The Islamic identity is more fundamental than, takes precedence over and therefore is for practical purposes in bitter competition with the alternative identities, whether Arabist or Berberist, being touted in the political market-place. And, like its rivals, the unqualified assertion of this identity has been a massively voluntarist affair.

Everybody's doing it, doing it. Every force engaged in the competitive assertion of alternative conceptions of identity in Algeria has been guilty of adopting an unhistorical approach to the problem.



Now it should not be forgotten that, as Nietzsche pointed out, the unhistorical frame of mind is the precondition of vigorous action. A mind which is full of history is liable to be paralysed by the weight and variety of the conflicting lessons which history teaches, and to lose itself "in the stream of becoming". (5) To make history, it is necessary to act decisively in the present, and "forgetfulness is a property of all action". (6)

It is therefore not to be wondered at that those remarkable free spirits, the men of November 1, 1954, chose to forget all about the fact that Algeria was a good deal more French at the moment they launched their war to restore the pre-colonial sovereign state than it had been in 1830 when this state was destroyed by the French army. Nor that Ben Bella should have chosen to forget that Algerians are by no means only, let alone wholly, 'Arabs', nor that the Berberists should have turned a blind eye to all the non-Berber elements of the supposedly 'Berber' culture they were seeking to defend, nor that the Islamists should display an audaciously cavalier attitude to the politico-religious history of Algeria in the name of which they have been claiming to act. Nietzsche would have not have wondered at any of this; he would have taken it as evidence of the soundness of his views, which it is.

(In parentheses, I may say not only that I like Nietzsche, but that of European philosophers he is one of the most relevant to the drama of the Algerian national revolution, if not the most relevant. Since I pointed out the unmistakeably Nietzschean aspect of the Algerian Revolution several years ago, (7) I have been interested to discover that several key personalities of the revolutionary nationalist generation of Algerians were well aware of Nietzsche's relevance, and had not waited for this to be drawn to their attention by me. But the German dimension of the Algerian Revolution having been systematically obscured in the historiography of this revolution, the point will bear repeating for a while yet.)

Because the question of identity has been politicised in Algeria, and thus appropriated by political forces all equally determined to realise their mutually exclusive conceptions amid the bulks of actual things, only unhistorical conceptions of identity have any influence with Algerian public opinion. There accordingly can be no question, for the detached observer at any rate, of choosing which is right. They are all wrong in the sense of untrue. At least, they are untrue in the sense that, in the memorable phrase which perhaps only the Head of the British Civil Service could have coined, they are "economical with the truth".

As descriptions of historical reality they are necessarily inadequate, because the voluntarist projects to which they correspond are bent on simplifying reality in one way or another, and are therefore determined not to accord legitimacy to, by openly acknowledging the existence of, those elements of historical reality which are scheduled for destruction. They are economical with the truth in the sense that they recognise only those facts which are grist to their mill, and suppress in their discourse those awkward facts which they aspire to suppress in material reality the moment they get the chance.

It follows that no observer can endorse the scientific credentials of any of these conceptions and still lay claim to objectivity with any degree of seriousness. We must either choose which we prefer on frankly political grounds, or refuse to endorse any of them.



The first conception is Arabo-Islamism. In this conception, Algeria is an 'Arabo-Muslim' country. The combination of the Arabic language and the culture vehicled by this, and the Islamic faith and its associated (moral, legal, artistic, etc.) traditions is the foundation if not the essence of Algeria's personality and defines her identity and that of every individual Algerian. This was the conception which Ben Bella was articulating at Tunis airport in 1962. The fact that he chose on that occasion to express only the Arabist aspect of it should not mislead us; he equally vigorously emphasised the Islamic aspect on other occasions both before as well as after 1962.

The conception of 'Arabo-Muslim Algeria' was axiomatic (at least for most of the time) for the wartime FLN, as it had been for the FLN's precursors, the Étoile Nord-Africaine (1926-1937), the Parti du Peuple Algérien (1937-1954) and its legal front, the Mouvement pour le Triomphe des Libertés Démocratiques (1946-1954). It was also - if not even more - axiomatic for the other great strand in Algerian anti-colonialism, the movement of Islamic reform - islah - led from 1931 onwards by Shaikh Abdelhamid Ben Badis's Association of Muslim 'ulama. Thus the Arabo-Islamic conception of Algeria's identity has been the conception of the nationalist mainstream.

Its unhistorical character lies in the fact that it ignores not only the Roman, Jewish and French elements of Algeria's social and cultural history, none of which can be accommodated within an Islamic identity, of course, but also the Turkish and especially the Berber elements, which have survived in varying degrees to this day, and which encounter no such objection founded on religious facts. Only the Arabic and Islamic elements of Algerian society and culture are held to figure among 'the constants of the nation'.

Moreover, this conception of identity is about language and faith to the total exclusion of other aspects of culture. Now, neither the Arabic language nor the Islamic faith is in any way peculiar to Algeria. The Arabo-Muslim identity could be Tunisian or Kuwaiti, etc., as easily as Algerian. There is nothing specifically Algerian about it whatever. This insistence on an abstract and nationally unspecific conception of identity is explained by the fact that the other, specific, aspects of Algerian culture - whether, for example, architecture or cuisine or dress - tend to be regionally specific, that is, characteristic of and so identified with a particular region of the country (the Constantinois, Kabylia, the Algérois, the Oranie, the South, etc.). They are therefore regarded as divisive of the nation by implication or tendency, and cannot be allowed to figure in a definition of the nation's identity for this reason.



The Berberist conception of identity is the mirror-image of the Arabo-Islamist conception in that it too is entirely an affair of language and religion. Where the Arabo-Islamist conception emphasises the privileged status of the Arabic language, the Berberist conception advances the claims of the Berber language, Thamazighth. And where the Arabo-Islamist conception, in its emphasis on the Islamic character of Algeria, insists that this character should be reflected in the state, at least to the extent that Islam should be the religion of the state (with whatever this may be held to imply in policy terms, about which there has always been room for argument), the Berberist conception has been led to develop a sharply opposed position, namely that described by its advocates as 'la laïcité', by which is meant the demand that religion should be separated from politics, that Islam should have no official status within the constitution of the state, and that public life (and, notably, state education) should be conducted on secularist principles.

It is only relatively recently that the Berberist conception has embraced the secularist vision. Initially it consisted almost exclusively of the linguistic element. But since the founding of the Rally for Culture and Democracy (Rassemblement pour la Culture et la Démocratie, RCD) in February 1989 by key figures in the earlier Berber Cultural Movement (Mouvement Culturel Berbère, MCB), 'la laïcité' has come to enjoy equal billing with Thamazighth in the Berberist agenda. But the fact that this development in Berberist discourse reflected a substantial political reality on the ground was demonstrated by the massive failure of the various Islamist parties to make electoral headway in Kabylia in June 1990 and December 1991.

That the Berberist conception of identity is false in the sense of historically inaccurate can be easily demonstrated. Berberist discourse systematically abstracts from the substantial differences between the various Berberophone populations of Algeria (to look no further), and in particular is obliged to ignore the fact that the political outlook of the Shawiyya Berbers of south-eastern Algeria has been - and largely remains to this day - significantly different from that of the Kabyles. There was no support among the Shawiyya for the rebellion in Kabylia led by Hocine Aït Ahmed's Socialist Forces Front (Front des Forces Socialistes, FFS) in 1963-1965, or for the 'Tizi Ouzou Spring' in 1980, nor did the Berberist RCD or the FFS make any impression on the Shawiyya electorate in 1990 and 1991. If we look further afield, that is to Morocco, moreover, we can see that the rebellion of the Rifian Berbers in 1958 simply cannot be accommodated by the discourse of Algerian Berberism. The latter champions the claims of the Berber language against those of Arabic, as we have seen. But the Rifian rebels actively demanded the Arabisation of the Moroccan administration, in preference to its functioning in French, an attitude which was virtually the opposite of that of their Kabyle cousins. (8)

In reality, Berberism in Algeria is essentially a Kabyle affair, but even with respect to Kabylia Berberist discourse is obliged to be so selective in respect of reality that it systematically tends to mystify it. It cannot cope with the fact that, for most of the period from 1926 to 1954 (the celebrated so-called 'Berberist crisis' of 1948-1949 apart), the extremely important Kabyle element in the leadership of the nationalist movement had little problem about accepting this movement's 'Arabo-Muslim' conception of Algeria, and that this was also true of most of the Kabyle element in the leadership of the wartime FLN-ALN at both national and regional level.

Moreover, to go further back into the past, contemporary Berberism cannot accommodate the fact that enormously significant aspects of traditional Kabyle culture are of Arabo-Islamic origin. In particular, it is necessary for the Berberists to overlook the fact that virtually every term in the Kabyle vocabulary of politics and honour is a borrowing from Arabic. (9)

The historical fact of the matter is that the Kabyle identity itself - let alone the postulated more general 'Berber' identity - is an enormously complex affair, not in the least to be reduced to something as simple as language or any other single dimension. Why, then, did the specifically Berber - that is, linguistic - element of this identity come to be asserted over the last twenty years at the expense of other elements of this identity? This is an interesting question, to which I have offered an explanation elsewhere. (10)

For present purposes, however, the point is that only an historical approach can answer this and similar, awkward but critical, questions (such as why linguistic Berberism in Kabylia should suddenly have gone secularist in 1989 in defiance of Kabylia's own religious traditions, not to mention those of the Shawiyya, Mozabites, etc.), since only such an approach asks them.



The Islamists' conception is that Algerians are Muslims above all. Algerian society is Muslim society. Its Muslim identity is fundamental and should be respected and furnishes the rules and principles which should regulate and determine social life. And for this to happen, the state must be a properly Islamic state.

So much for 'ought', the normative aspect of the conception. What about 'is', the factual or positive aspect, that is, Islamist 'history'?

The first point to make is that the Islamist conception systematically overlooks Algeria's own religious traditions, and therefore the extent to which the Islamist project is an importation of Mashriqi - Middle Eastern - ideological trends into an Algeria which is receptive to them precisely in so far as the traditional native bases of identity have collapsed.

Second, the Islamists falsify Algeria's political history. It is axiomatic for them not only that the Algerian state is a massive disappointment, if not an outright betrayal, of the expectations of the Algerian People - a judgement with which several other political viewpoints would concur - but that this is the case because, whereas the War of National Liberation which produced it was Islamic in character, the state it gave birth to is not. It is on the basis of these premises that the Islamist movement in Algeria, and the FIS in particular, have presented themselves as the rightful heirs of the historic FLN of 1954-1962.

This view of things has been very prominent in the discourse of the FIS on 'the two FLNs' during the electoral contests of 1990 and 1991, in which the properly Islamic and correspondingly virtuous FLN of the war was counter-posed to the corrupt and disreputable FLN of the independent state, and the FIS claimed to be the heir (son, fils, FIS) of the true FLN of yesteryear. The paramount role within the FIS leadership of Abassi Madani, one of the men who went into action on November 1, 1954, and the way in which the FIS traded on Abassi's personal record, were crucial to the success of this claim to historic legitimacy. (11) There are at least two objections to this conception.

The first lies in the significant little fact, which as far as I am aware no one has pointed out, that the reference of the Islamists of the FIS was to November 1, 1954: that is, the modern, Western, non-Islamic calendar is the frame of reference. No one, not even the Islamists, has ever referred to the launching of the national revolution by the date of this event in the Muslim calendar. The negative contrast with the Irish case is extremely instructive here. Each year Irish nationalism celebrates the anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916. The celebration always takes place at Easter, and so often in different months (and never on the same day) in successive years. The event is firmly situated in the slightly irregular Christian calendar of religious festivals, and not in the fixed, normal, calendar of everyday life. And in this way the paramount importance of Catholicism to the Irish national identity is routinely and unquestioningly affirmed.

If the start of the Algerian national revolution is not located even by Algeria's Islamists - let alone by anyone else - in the Muslim calendar, this is in part because it simply is not true that the historic FLN was about realising an Islamic objective. Its objective was entirely modern and modernist; the historic FLN was, above all, nationalist. And because nation took priority over faith in its project, its attitude towards Islam was essentially instrumental, with Islam representing a means and a mode of mobilising the People to adhere to the modernist, nationalist, project. But this is something which Algeria's Islamists cannot admit.


The constitution of identity

One of the numerous things which these three unhistorical conceptions of identity have in common is the unstated and probably unconscious presupposition that identity is to be understood primarily in terms of culture, and particularly in terms of language and religion, and that cultural identity is in some sense or other a given, a fact that is neither the fruit of artificial contrivance nor susceptible to artificial suppression.

In short, these three conceptions are all unpolitical. But this follows naturally from their unhistorical character: history is past politics. And it is in their unpolitical aspect that these conceptions become especially dangerous. Pace modern economic determinism and sociological reductionism, Man, as Aristotle observed, "is by nature a political animal." And what this means is that the role of the state is fundamental to the constitution of identity.

I am British, in virtue of the historically accomplished fact that the British state - the United Kingdom - came into being at some point in the past and happens still to exist. If the United Kingdom disintegrates, I shall have an identity problem. I am not English, nor Scottish, nor Welsh, nor Irish and I could not easily become any of these things by an act of will. I am British. But I could, through the misfortune of being catastrophically misgoverned, cease to be British. The condition of my British identity, the British state, could fall apart.

The category of Soviet citizen once furnished a politically stable and functional identity to millions of people, as did the category of Yugoslav citizen. The multi-national states known as the USSR and Yugoslavia have disappeared. As states they ended up being misgoverned so badly that they disintegrated. And as a result the disintegration of that other multi-national state known as the United Kingdom has become substantially less unthinkable over the last three or four years.

It was the French state which constituted the native inhabitants of Algeria into les musulmans. The term 'Algérien' was used during the colonial period to refer not to Algeria's Muslims, but to the European settler population of Algérie française, and the term denoted a regional, not national, identity: the pieds noirs were 'les Algériens' just as the inhabitants of the various regions of metropolitan France might be described as 'les Gascons', 'les Lorrains', 'les Auvergnats', etc. And in so far as France distinguished between the various Muslims of her North African departments, it was precisely upon a regional basis, as 'les Algérois', 'les Biskris', 'les Chaouia', 'les Constantinois', 'les Kabyles', 'les Laghouatis', 'les Mzabis', 'les Oranais', 'les Soufis', 'les Tlemceniens', etc.

France, unlike the United Kingdom, is a nation-state, and it therefore cannot constitute groups into non-French national identities except at the expense of the coherence of the French national political community. And so, since it considered Algeria to be territorially and constitutionally part of itself, France between 1830 and 1962 constituted native Algerians, when it considered them en bloc, into 'the Muslims', just as it is now constituting that element of the population of the metropolis which used to be referred to, during the first two decades of the post-colonial era, as 'les nord-africains', 'les Maghrebins', 'les Arabes', 'les Algériens en France', etc. into 'l'Islam français'.

It was the Algerian state which reconstituted the Muslims of Algeria into Algerians and gave this term a national content. The old Ottoman Regency had begun to do this, if unevenly and only to a limited extent, in the pre-colonial period, and the state secreted by the FLN did this very purposefully between 1962 and 1978, having actually begun this work in 1954 (when the FLN-state was conceived in embryo as a clandestine counter-state.) But the FLN-state did not only constitute Algeria's Muslims into Algerians, for it also tended to some extent to constitute them into regionalists (les Kabyles, les Constantinois, les Oranais, etc.), volens nolens. The principal basis of factional divisions within the FLN political system was a regionally-grounded clientelism rather than ideology or cultural orientation, and the functioning of the state bureaucracy since 1962 has tended to generate and reproduce regionalist loyalties and solidarities all the time in the routine operations of the recruitment and socialisation processes and the general spoils system.

What compensated for this up until 1978 was the Boumediène régime's nation-building project of state-directed social and economic development, because the degree of popular political mobilisation, urbanisation and upward social mobility which this project was able to sustain generated a powerful centripetal dynamic in both the political arena and the society at large which continuously tended to transcend regional particularisms.

After 1979, however, the Chadli régime both aggravated the regional cleavages within the politico-military élite and simultaneously reconstituted the population into arabisants, francisants, 'Berberists' and 'Islamists', etc., and did so at enormous speed, reverting to the practice of the French state and for the same reasons: divide et impera. It had to divide the population in this way in order to rule it, because it had not only abandoned Boumediène's socialistic project of rapid industrialisation but had replaced it with no other nation-building project capable of mobilising popular enthusiasms and energies on a national basis. And so the Chadli régime ended by dressing the greater part of the People against the State qua Muslims, just like France had done before.

We are now seeing the terrible consequences of this political catastrophe. It is by no means clear that the Algerian nation-state can recover from it.



For the time being, historical approaches appear to have no political influence in Algeria. This may change, and it certainly needs to if the Algerian state is to be effectively restored, but at present only alternative, opposed, unhistorical approaches seem to count for anything in the political arena, which has accordingly been reduced to a battlefield.

In these circumstances, observers outside the mêlée can either line up with one unhistorical conception or another, or they can stand aside. As a matter of principle and professional self-respect, I prefer to stand aside, but if I were forced to choose, I should choose the original outlook of the leaders of the historic FLN - that is, the Arabo-Muslim conception of Algeria's cultural identity - which the Boumediène régime had the political intelligence to combine with an ambitious development strategy, an egalitarian social policy and a populist discourse and to temper with a pragmatic attitude to both the French cultural legacy and to le fait berbère.

This formula worked well for the first sixteen years of Algeria's independence and, since no other formula has worked at all, there is a strong case for the view that it is the only formula which is capable of guaranteeing the survival of the Algerian nation-state as a state enjoying an orderly existence. The other, rival, positions have clearly proved to be subversive of the Algerian state, whatever the intentions of their adherents.

But the Algerian state, as constituted by the historic FLN, is in crisis, and the formula which proved adequate to governing it in the past may now be beyond rescue. If one takes the view that, in the long run, an enduring resolution of this crisis can occur only through a genuine democratisation of the state, then one must recognise that this requires Algeria to develop the characteristics of a civil society in reality as well as in name and in aspiration, and one of these characteristics is an informed and correspondingly self-confident public opinion.

A sense of history, and a knowledge of history, are as necessary to the development of an informed and morally robust public opinion in Algeria as anywhere else. And as part of such a development, there can be no doubt that the Algerians will need to develop an historical conception of their own identity, and to recognise that the Algerian nation can become what it is only if it does not encumber itself with mutually exclusive and simplistic idées fixes about what it ought to be.

In 1936, the year of the Congrès Musulman in Algeria, the great British writer, E.M. Forster, observed in his reflections on the English, that "the main point... is that the English character is incomplete". (12) If that was still true of the English after many centuries of continuous evolution within the framework of a sovereign state, how could it possibly be the case that the Algerians should now be ready, after a mere thirty years of independence, to resolve by mere argument the numerous richly turbulent ingredients of their remarkable national character into a definite 'identity' on which they might all agree? The notion is self-evidently absurd, and what is extraordinary is that so much of the Algerian intelligentsia and political élite should have been possessed and bewitched by this absurdity in recent years.

In the passage I have cited, Forster immediately went on to observe that "no national character is complete". (13) That is the historical approach to the question of national identity in a nutshell. And if that remark is true in general, and true of England in particular, it must be acknowledged to be equally true of Algeria, if Algeria is to succeed in being a nation, a subject of history, and a living entity.




1. Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, translated and with an introduction by R.J. Hollingdale, London, Penguin, 1979, 64. Return

2. Etienne Mallarde, L'Algérie Depuis, Paris, La Table Ronde, 1975, 32. Return

3. ibid. Return

4. For a discussion of the events of 1980, see my article 'Towards an understanding of the Kabyle question in contemporary Algeria', The Maghreb Review, vol. V, nos. 5-6 (September-December 1980), 115-124. Return

5. Friedrich Nietzsche, 'The Use and Abuse of History' in The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, edited by Oscar Levy, Vol. II, Thoughts Out Of Season, Part 2 (T.N. Foulis, Edinburgh and London, 1909), 8. Return

6. Ibid. Return

7. In a paper entitled 'The FLN: French conceptions, Algerian realities', delivered to a conference on 'France and Algeria: Identities in Interaction', held at Loughborough University on December 15, 1989; this was subsequently published in George Joffé, ed., North Africa: Nation, State and Region, London, Routledge, 1993, 111-141. Return

8. For a fuller discussion of these points, see Roberts, 1980, art. cit., 117-118. Return

9. The key terms of traditional Kabyle politics are thaqbilth, meaning 'confederation' (Arabic, qabîla: 'tribe'), 'arsh, meaning 'tribe' (Arabic, literally 'throne' but also used in Maghrib for 'tribe'), tufiq (Arabic for 'settlement, reconciliation', used in Kabylia to mean an association of scattered hamlets forming a political unit), thajma'ath, 'council' or 'assembly' (from the Arabic jema'a), saff, 'party' or 'faction' (Arabic, meaning 'array' or 'alignment'), etc. The main terms in the Kabyle vocabulary of honour are given by Pierre Bourdieu in his essay 'The sense of honour', in Bourdieu, P., Algeria 1960, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press/Paris, Éditions de la Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, 1977, 95-132; the vast majority of the terms cited by him (e.g. nif, essar, nur, hurma, elbahadla, hashma, el 'ardh, el 'ar, el 'ib, lahram, etc.) are Arabic or of Arabic root. Return

10. Hugh Roberts, 'The unforeseen development of the Kabyle question in contemporary Algeria', Government and Opposition, XVII, 3 (Summer 1982), 312-334; 'The economics of Berberism: the material basis of the Kabyle question in contemporary Algeria', Government and Opposition, XVIII, 2 (Spring 1983), 218-235; see also Roberts 1980, art. cit. Return

11. For a detailed discussion of this point, see my article 'From radical mission to equivocal ambition: the expansion and manipulation of Algerian Islamism, 1979-1992' in Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby, eds., Accounting for Fundamentalisms: The Dynamic Character of Fundamentalist Movements, The Fundamentalism Project, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, University of Chicago Press, 1994, 428-489. Return

12. E.M. Forster, 'Notes on the English character', in Abinger Harvest, London, Edward Arnold, 1936; Penguin, 1967, 25. Return

13. Ibid. Return