Explaining Youth Participation and Non-Participation in Morocco

May 31, 2017

Based on both recent statistics from a national survey and qualitative interviews, the paper analyses the level and modalities of youth participation in Morocco’s public sphere. While individual characteristics such as education, gender, political interest and political knowledge are important for understanding the phenomenon of participation and non-participation, it is argued that contextual factors of youth participation matter. Our data demonstrate weak interest and engagement in the arena of traditional, formal politics. This sphere has become so discredited over the years that participation through political parties and elections is now being perceived by a majority of young people as meaningless. Instead Moroccan youth favour different forms of “politics from below” such as voicing one’s opinion on the Internet and in political protests. In this respect, our findings mirror those of other studies. Youth activism in Morocco is not primarily defined by the formal spaces of participation; rather, it is about the degree of influence that they can exercise through one venue or another. The institutional setting plays a major role in obstructing young people’s political participation, particularly their involvement in formal politics.

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