Thirty years after the nationalisation of hydrocarbons Algeria’s oil wealth seems to have disappeared judging by its absence in the country’s indicators of well being. In Algeria oil led to happiness for a few and sadness for many. The absence of controls over oil revenue led to the industries downfall. Since 2002 Algeria is again seeing oil wealth. The increase in the price per barrel from 30 to 147 dollars between 2002 and 2008 provided the country with unexpected revenue permitting it to accumulate funds estimated, in 2009, at 150 billion dollars. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, returned to a devastated Algeria to restore civil order, unexpectedly benefited from this price increase. Thus, in addition to national reconciliation he was able to offer Algeria renewed economic growth. However, given that the wounds of the 1990s are not entirely healed and the illusions of oil wealth have evaporated this unexpected return of financial abundance raises concerns. To what ends will this manna be put ? Who will control it ? Will it provoke new violence and conflict ?

Irène Bono

In Morocco describing an activity as having a « participative » character vests it with all the virtues of civil society and implies it is a panacea. The launch in 2005 of the National Initiative for Human Development (NIHD), a program calling for the mobilization of everyone in the fight against poverty, can be considered a symbol of this « participation phenomenon ». By analyzing its norms and styles of action on which they are based it is possible to discover the internal logic of the participatory phenomenon and to see how it shapes politics. The promotion of certain styles of action, those combining the virtues of civil society with the technical support of participative policies, transforms the criteria of legitimation. Also, the moral values ascribed to participation justify the violation of other social norms, both economic and political, which have nothing to do with participation. Such an approach, developed here on the basis of the INDH at El Hajeb, brings to light the complex ideology on which the subject of participation is based as well as its active and creative role in the political configurations which draw their legitimacy from the value placed on participation.

Lukáš Macek

The ratification of the Lisbon Treaty was, in the words of Jose Manuel Barroso, “an obstacle marathon”. Its entry into force marks the end of the debate over the future of Europe begun in December 2000 at the Council of Europe in Nice. Based on an analysis of this sequence of events the authors offer a diagnosis of the crisis of legitimacy gripping the European Union. They consider that the increase in certain forms of Euroskepticism is a result of the crisis of legitimacy and propose that it be addressed by the politicization of the European political system. This politicization would permit citizens to influence the political orientation of the European Union both in terms of substance and legislative process. Several avenues are available to encourage s pour fig 1b.jpg uch politicization, relating both to institutional practices and to the conduct of political actors.

Anne Daguerre

The social policy of the US welfare state is based on a liberal model of social protection. The social contract is based on the idea that individuals of working age individuals should support themselves and their dependants thanks to their earned income. However, to have a job is no longer sufficient in protecting individuals against main social risks. President Obama has been elected on the promise that he will restore the American dream, whereby individual work is rewarded by upward social mobility. However, the Obama administration faces the challenge of rising social inequality and poverty, in an extremely difficult economic context. The Great Recession has laid bare the gaps of the safety net: a growing proportion of families must choose between paying for food or rent. To understand the inadequacies of the US social protection system, it is necessary to study the structure of public assistance programmes, as well as labour market trends and the impact of the recession on low-income households. This analysis will shed light on the main characteristics of the Obama administration’s response to the economic crisis.