Dr Michael Willis' new book offers an explanation of this unexpected development known as the Hirak Movement, examining the political and social changes that have occurred in Algeria since the ‘dark decade’ of the 1990s
When mass protests erupted in Algeria in 2019, on a scale unseen anywhere in the region since the Arab Spring, the outside world was taken by surprise. Algeria had been largely unaffected by the turmoil that engulfed its neighbours in 2011, and it was widely assumed that the population was too traumatised and cowed by the country’s bloody civil war of the 1990s to take to the streets demanding change. Algeria: Politics and Society from the Dark Decade to the Hirak offers an explanation of this unexpected development known as the Hirak Movement, examining the political and social changes that have occurred in Algeria since the ‘dark decade’ of the 1990s. It examines how the bitter civil conflict was brought to an end, and how a fresh political order was established following the 1999 election of a new leader, Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Initially underwritten by revenue from Algeria’s substantial hydrocarbons resources, this new order came to be undermined by falling oil prices, an ailing president, and a population determined to have its voice heard by an increasingly corrupt, out-of-touch and opaque national leadership.
Dr Michael Willis is a Fellow of the Middle East Centre and St Antony’s College at the University of Oxford where he has taught modern Maghreb politics since 2004. Algeria: Politics and Society from the Dark Decade to the Hirak is his second book on Algeria. His first was The Islamist Challenge in Algeria; A Political History published in 1997. He is also the author of Politics and Power in the Maghreb: Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco from Independence to the Arab Spring which came out in 2012.
Guest Speaker: Dr Michael Willis (St Antony’s College, University of Oxford)
Chair: Professor Eugene Rogan (St Antony's College, University of Oxford)