Sport and international relations in North Africa
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Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia share the same history of French colonial presence. While Algeria was simply annexed to become part of the French territory and divided into three provinces, Tunisia and Morocco were under the regime of French Protectorate. Colonial history and the decolonization process, which took a more violent turn in Algeria, still play important roles in defining these countries’ post-independence diplomacy and foreign policy. International Relations in the region have been shaped at national level by nation-state building, strengthening political legitimacy around regimes in place, represented by the head of the nation (Hassan II, Ben-Bella, Boumedienne, Bourguiba, Ben-Ali), and securing stability against any internal threats, whether communist, ethnic-separatist, or Islamist. At international level, countries in North Africa, particularly in the Maghreb positioned themselves between the Eastern and Western blocs. The oil rich Algeria, given its path to independence fighting the NATO-backed French and getting support from the former communist countries of Eastern and Central Europe, took more of an anti-imperialist and socialist approach whereas Morocco and Tunisia were perceived as western allies in the region. Considering these political and economic contexts the chapter, after a preliminary but necessary discussion of sport and international relations in general, moves on to examine the role of sport in shaping the foundations of independent states in the Maghreb; we then move to discuss the sport and nation-state building in post-independence; and sport as a site for rivalry and the expression of Maghrebin unity.
- Sport Sciences [167 items ]