Accepted Paper:

Social strategizing within an urban elite in Morocco  


Barbara Götsch (Austrian Academy of Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

This paper portrays a group of academics cum NGO activists in urban Morocco. It looks at how they acquire and maintain elite status against the backdrop of a changing political landscape.

Paper long abstract:

Examining the life stories of the members of an NGO team in urban Morocco, the paper discusses what motivated them to engage with this type of work, how they position themselves in the political and academic landscape, and how they attempt to maintain or improve their position. Most team members belong to a hereditary elite, but at the same time, by virtue of their high-profile education and professional activities, also form part of an educational elite. The combination of these resources ensures them access to and support by "power elites". The paper explores how the team members explain their professional success and closeness to these higher circles, and why they feel it is important to be associated with them.

Moreover, the paper examines the NGO elites' social strategizing among themselves and towards outsiders, be it their (European) donors, state institutions, or the "beneficiaries" of the NGO's activities. This strategic behaviour has to be understood against the backdrop of a rapidly changing political environment, where it is not only important to be personally acquainted with powerful protagonists, but also to adopt the new rhetoric of neo-liberalism and good goverance.

Panel W025
Elite strategies of distinction and mutuality