Why Morocco missed the Arab Spring.

Essay, 2011

8 Pages, Grade: 1.0


In the early 2011 the people of many Arabic countries decided to no longer take the repressions that they had been subjected to for decades. Starting with the self-ignition of a young Tunisian1, the call for deposition of the despots, for the granting of basic civil and human rights and thereby for democracy lead to a movement – often referred to as “the Arab Spring” - never seen before in that region of the earth. In Tunisia and Egypt the demonstrators accomplished to remove the potentates remaining peacefully despite the violent suppressions they were facing. In Lybia the rebels eventually gained power through a civil war being supported by the United Nations and the NATO. In Yemen and Syria the situation can still develop in several directions. In Bahrain endeavors have been violently nipped in the bud. Morocco, however, remains a puzzling exception2. In my paper I will analyze the possible explanations the WorldValuesSurvey3 offers for the relatively reserved uprisings observed in Morocco. Therefore the “fundamental predispositions in favor of democratic orders”4(p189) by Lasswell and especially the complementing “dogmatism scale” by Rokeach – as both discussed in Welzel (2007)4 - will serve as the theoretical foundation for assessing certain results given by the WVS. Rokeach’s explanatory approach can basically be seen as the reversed analysis on the same issue: Lasswell provides preconditions that facilitate democratic behavior in an individual, Rokeach measures the “closed”-mindedness that prevents democratic behavior in an individual, therefore both approaches can be perceived as complementing. I will focus my analysis on Rokeach’s dogmatism scale. The perception that an open-mindedness towards other human beings and its various manifestations plays an important role in several areas is retrievable in many fields of social science, for example Putnam5 argues that it is crucial for social capital and civicness, Inglehart6 that post-materialism fosters open-mindedness in social coherences.

Rokeach provides 5 measurements for his “dogmatism-scale” which is displaying the closed-mindedness of an individual: (1) A Strong belief into authority, (2) Intolerance of diversity, (3) Fatalism, (4) low self-esteem, (5) Threat perceptions. Welzel includes the remark4(p189), that those items have to be arranged in a sequence of steps, so a person needs to be free from anxiety to some extent in order to preserve or attain a certain level of self-esteem, which then leads to a more tolerant attitude towards diversity and so on. I will now analyze the items in reversed order to find out where this sequence of steps is broken or if rather the pattern of consecutiveness turns out to be inaccurate. Afterwards I will discuss the results against the aforenamed leading question, why Morocco poses an exception in the Arab Spring.

(5) Threat perceptions

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The best match for this item given by the WVS is V23 (Most people can be trusted) as the absence of trust goes hand in hand with the feeling of being threatened. As Figure 1 suggests the Moroccan people do not think very highly of mutual trust, but are rather suspicious of each other. The reasons for that can be of religious, historic or demographic nature for the population of Morocco is dichotomous, consisting of 70% Arabs and 30% Berbers7. However, if one is taking a look at the items V126 to V130IQB that are specifying on what groups of people are actually trustworthy it becomes apparent that Moroccans especially mistrust people that differ from them in terms of religion and nationality. Despite the relativization by that remark, the mistrust of the Moroccan population remains remarkably high. According to Welzel4(p189) the sequence of steps is already intermitted, which would mean that the result for the following 4 items would all the more disqualify the Moroccan people in terms of an open-mindedness and thereby a “fundamental predisposition” towards democratic behavior.

(4) Low Self-Esteem

illustration not visible in this excerpt

The WVS does not provide an item that matches this measurement one-to-one. V65 seems to be the best fit, as it is connected to self-esteem or the absence of the same: If one has no self-esteem he will probably be much more likely to depend on others in terms of character and thinking. It takes some self-esteem to retain one’s individuality when confronted with opposition or peer pressure. Figure 2 suggests that Moroccans emphasize the distinction of self from influences of others and thereby that the Moroccan citizens have a certain amount of self-esteem that prevents them from following others too often. This result may appear puzzling for an Islamic (or in general deeply religious) shaped society, as Islam (or religion as a whole) highly emphasizes that one blindly follows the beliefs that a central authority preaches. It could be possible that the Moroccans do not recognize this process as such. However, this item already contradicts the assumption that the indicators build on one another.


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Why Morocco missed the Arab Spring.
Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH
Mass Beliefs and Democracy
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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morocco, arab, spring
Quote paper
Jan-David Franke (Author), 2011, Why Morocco missed the Arab Spring., Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/264813


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