Globally Sensitive in The Journal of North African Studies

In the framework of the Globally Sensitive Project, the article “‘Nothing will ever be the same again’. Personal commitment and political subjectivation in the 20 February Movement in Morocco” has just been published in The Journal of North African Studies. The article, written by Francesco Vacchiano and Hafsa Afailal, analyses the political biographies of young activists who took part in the 20 February Movement in Morocco. In particular, we explore the process of individual transformation that occurred during activism, both in terms of events that influenced the choice to commit for political change and their consequences in the long run. We use the concept of ‘political subjectivation’ to discuss the succession of moments of rupture and re-semanticisation and the new ethical configurations generated by the experience of personal engagement. Taking seriously our interlocutors’ claim that, after mobilization and despite its limited results, things will not be anyway be as before (see also our  previous blogpost on this topic) we found that the experiences of activism had a profound impact on their world-view and ethical orientation, influencing deeply their lives in the following years. By combining political philosophy on ‘subjectivation’ and anthropology of morality (and, particularly, freely inspired by Jarret Zigon’s notion of ‘moral breakdown’) we posit that activism is intrinsically an activity of ‘problematization’, in which social reality and personal dispositions are reinterpreted and re-framed. Our young interlocutors are aware of the impact of militancy on their lives: also those who have not remained active in organised political groups, have chosen new directions for their studies, turned to civil society, or reinvested their energies in social activities. ‘Politics’, in a broader meaning, as a politically-informed awareness of their role within society, has become part of their way of being. As we write in the conclusions, “even though the revolt has not kept all its promises, at least some of its changes have come to stay. For many of its protagonists, the Spring has not exhausted its potentialities and ‘the long 2011’ is still running”.

Are these subjectivities the seeds of new ‘revolutionary’ possibilities in the future?

We are deeply grateful to all the Moroccan interlocutors who shared with us their views and stories and to the colleagues (we think in particular to Irene Bono and Rosita Di Peri) who read and commented an earlier version of the article. This work is dedicated to Mourad Lamkhantar.

Those who have not an institutional access to the Journal, the first 50 copies are free to download here:

A post-print copy is available at:


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