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Power networks constructed and challenged . The case of France and Algeria. Precursors: Algerian politics before the 1830s. Diffuse military-political power Ottoman rule (very distant) Tribes and tribal confederations piracy. French colonial expansion. When

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power networks constructed and challenged

Power networks constructed and challenged

The case of France and Algeria

precursors algerian politics before the 1830s
Precursors: Algerian politics before the 1830s
  • Diffuse military-political power
    • Ottoman rule (very distant)
    • Tribes and tribal confederations
    • piracy
french colonial expansion
French colonial expansion
  • When
    • Initial French invasion, 1830; 1834 France annexation
    • Urban centers taken early, rural areas provide stiff resistance
    • Early resistance encourages French “pacification” effort; major resistance only ends in 1870s
  • Why
    • Economic
    • Socio-political
      • Divert attention from domestic problems
      • “The old nations must have outlets in order to alleviate the demographic pressures exerted on big cities and the use of the capital that has been concentrated there. To open new sources of production is, in effect, the surest means of neutralising this concentration without upsetting the social order…”
        • - Commission d’Afrique report on the pros and cons of French colonization in Africa, 1833
    • Strategic
how military power
How: Military Power
  • Massive French use of violence, scorched earth policies
    • Intense tribal resistance to colonization in countryside
  • regime du sabre (government of the sword)
    • By 1900 about 3 million Muslims have died through war and disease
  • Settler colonialism
    • Italian, French, Spanish working class and farmers; felons and convicts

“After the Turkish authorities had disappeared…there was no day on which we did not try to destroy the great families…because we found them to be forces of resistance. We did not realize that in suppressing the forces of resistance in this fashion, we were also suppressing our means of action. The result is that we are today confronted by a sort of human dust on which we have no influence and in which movements take place which are to us unknown. We no longer have any authoritative intermediaries between ourselves and the indigenous population.”

          • Jules Cambon, Gov. General in Algeria, reporting to the French Senate in 1894. Quoted in William Quandt, Revolution and Political Leadership: Algeria, 1954-1968, p, 5
who the players
French government (in France)

Colons (settlers)

The French public & liberal critics

beni-oui-ouis: Algerian “yes men”

Algerian political parties and rebel groups



Secular & Muslim

Ordinary people

Who: The players
economic power
Economic power
  • Colons/pied-noirs
    • About 10% of population
    • “Grand colons” and “petit blancs”
  • Colonists hold about 30% arable land by 1900
    • Rural colonization destroys traditional Algerian society
  • Muslims pay higher taxes than colons
    • In 1909 Muslims produced 20 percent of Algeria's income but paid 70 percent of direct taxes
ideological power
Ideological power
  • French "civilizing mission"
  • French schools in urban areas:
    • curriculum entirely French
    • Emergence of a class of évolués (literally, the evolved ones) leads to rise in Algerian nationalism
    • Destruction/deterioration of indigenous Algerian schools
  • Early generations of Algerian nationalists sought full integration into France, not independence
political power
Political Power
  • Algerians given French citizenship- with many restrictions
    • Nearly 200,000 Algerians serve in French forces in WWI and WWII
  • French National Assembly
  • Algerian Assembly after 1947
    • Bicameral, heavily rigged in favor of colons & Algerian “yes men”
  • Continual struggle between mainland France and Colons
from the interstices challenges to colonialism
From the interstices: challenges to colonialism
  • Political challenges
    • Algerian rights and independence parties
      • Increasing clashes and protests after WWII
  • Ideological challenges
    • Algerian nationalism
  • Military challenges
    • Underground cells after WWII
    • FLN (Front de Liberation Nationale)
      • Founded 1954
  • Algerian War of Independence, 1954-1962
    • Half a million people die (mostly Algerians)
  • Algerian independence, 1962
    • Evian agreements