Call for Participation: "Narratives of Legitimacy and the Maghrebi State: Power, Law and Comparison." Tunis, June 21-22, 2019

Jacob Mundy's picture

CEMAT is inviting abstracts for its 2019 summer symposium bringing together social scientists and legal scholars interested in notions of state, state-building, as well as debates surrounding the concept of legitimacy. Derived from research and discussions about these issues from a Maghrebi perspective, we invite abstract submissions from scholars interested in North Africa but also comparatively in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The symposium seeks to bring together cross-disciplinary and multi-methodological approaches to formulate a discussion on norms/ideas of the state, narrative construction around “state-ness,” formal and informal approaches to the state, as well as symbolic approaches to power. What is the evolution of notions of state, what are the contours, boundaries and challenges? Who defines, redefines and practices these notions?

Contributions can focus on pre-independence and post-independence notions of state, for instance evocations of ideas and practices such as Beylical and Deylical (and how these are used today) roots of sovereignty, state-building and modernization dilemmas, symbolic notions around state prestige, expectations from state as well as popular and every-day experiences with the state.

The intent of the symposium is to foster a discussion beyond the “legitimacy crisis,” which in the North African context has been, un-problematically reduced to a debate of where legitimacy lies hierarchically, procedurally and structurally. Few approaches problematize and take apart the weakness of the concept of legitimacy itself. With a comparative approach, we seek papers that question both the location and meaning of legitimacy, relationship between citizens and states, as well as representations and locations of power, from multiple disciplinary perspectives. We are particularly interested in the public imaginaries historically and contemporarily of how power was, is and should be configured.

The conference also intends to discuss the notion and narrative of the Maghrib itself. To what extent, for instance, has the movement of populations reconfigured ideas of the Maghrib or individual Maghrebi states? How do states construct discourses of power, around which issues and for what purposes? How are these discourses challenged/or not challenged by citizens?

We invite abstract submissions from all disciplines in the social and legal sciences. We are particularly interested in political and legal ethnography, legal and political theory, as well as comparative and historical approaches. Limited funding to offset travel will be available.

Abstracts should be submitted to the following address: with “Legitimacy Conference” in the subject line.

Submission deadline: April 15, 2019
Notification: May 1, 2019
Conference: June 21-22, 2019

Categories: CFP