The Amazigh factor: State-movement relations under Mohammed VI

Bruce Maddy-Weitzman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


One of the more notable developments during the first decade of Mohammed VI’s rule was his visible, albeit partial embrace of the Amazigh (Berber) culture movement, part of a series of measures aimed at cementing his authority over Moroccan society following his assumption of power. To be sure, his late father, Hassan II, had taken some tentative steps towards recognizing the Amazigh component of Moroccan society. However, Mohammed VI’s actions were of a qualitatively different order, even if they fell short of the desires of Amazigh militants. And in July 2011, the king provided the Amazigh movement with a historic achievement: constitutional recognition of Tamazight as an official state language, alongside of Arabic. As is true in so many spheres of public life in Morocco, the king’s role in advancing the state’s recognition of the Amazigh component of Moroccan national identity was a decisive act. Still, a fuller, proper understanding requires looking at the subject from the angle of the Amazigh movement’s input as well. Indeed, the combination of Berber intellectual and cultural activism, and the predilections and needs at the top of Morocco’s political system, were concretized during the first two years of Mohammed’s reign by an alliance between the new king and the moderate Berberist current.1.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Morocco
Subtitle of host publicationState, Politics and Society Under Mohammed VI
EditorsBruce Maddy-Weitzman, Daniel Zisenwine
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781136459641
ISBN (Print)9780203126967
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012

Publication series

NameRoutledge studies in Middle Eastern politics


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