Critique internationale

Revue comparative de sciences sociales

Couverture Critique Internationale N°66

Critique internationale is a quarterly French-language journal published by Presses de Sciences Po, with the help of the Centre national du livre. A peer-reviewed journal, it has been supported by the Centre de recherches internationales (CERI-Sciences Po/CNRS) since its creation in October 1998.

A comparative social sciences journal, Critique internationale aims to shed light on the social sciences of politics from a comparative and empirical perspective. Articles submitted to the journal must therefore be based upon a detailed knowledge of the area(s) studied, acquired by researchers during localized studies and long-term immersion. At the same time, this approach must be accompanied by a solid grounding in the issue of research in social sciences debates.

The editorial committee is made up of individuals specializing in international issues (including transfer of norms, the transnationalization of collective action and public policy, the role of international organizations and NGOs in numerous crises or in the routine life of the “countries of the South,” and migration) in places (other than France) across all five continents. Anthropologists, sociologists, historians, and political scientists, its members come from various institutions (CNRS, IRD, FNSP, EHESS, universities) and vibrant research centers in both France and further afield, where comparative studies and studies on international issues provide a variety of perspectives on the way in which research is conducted today.

At the same time, Critique internationale continues to place particular focus on supporting young researchers in their first publishing and project coordination endeavors, while also ensuring that work produced by foreign colleagues is published in its pages.

Each quarter, a thematic dossier of five or six articles presents several case studies based on a cross-cutting issue. What makes Critique internationale distinctive is that each time, this dossier deals with far removed geographical and cultural entities. Together with the miscellaneous contributions that are published in each issue’s “Varia” section, these thematic studies provide particularly rich material for social scientific comparison. The “Readings” section offers reviews as well as reports on the state of thematic literature, allowing for an assessment of the research in a given field.

The journal accepts articles in English, Spanish, Russian, and German, and provides authors with feedback on their manuscripts in the language in which they submitted them. These manuscripts are then translated into French. Critique internationale also translates articles originally written in French or another language into English. These articles, as well as the entire collection, are available online on the journal portal

ISSN paper 1290-7839

ISSN electronic 1777-554X

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N°78 - Content



No Abstract


Thema - Avec ou sans les Frères. Les islamistes arabes face à la résilience autoritaire
Edited by Laurent Bonnefoy and François Burgat


No Abstract


Dynamique et omniprésente diversité de la référence islamiste
Laurent Bonnefoy, François Burgat


No Abstract


Le maréchal et les cheikhs : les stratégies religieuses du régime et leurs complications dans l’Égypte de al-Sissi
Stéphane Lacroix, Ahmed Zaghloul Shalata

[The Field Marshal and the Sheiks: The Regime’s Religious Strategies and Their Complications in al-Sissi’s Egypt]
This article examines the strategies that Field Marshal al-Sissi’s regime in Egypt has implemented to manage the religious field in the aftermath of the 2013 coup d’État that put an end to the “revolutionary parenthesis” of 2011-2013, a period marked by the electoral triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, the regime follows a twofold strategy: consistent with the precedent set under Mubarak’s government, it seeks to establish the only Islamist actors that supported the coup d’État, the Salafist movement and its al-Nour party, as a legitimist substitute for the Muslim Brotherhood; in more “Nasserian” vein, it seeks to restore power to the institutions of a hegemonic, official Islam in order to regain control of the country’s mosques. This article examines the motivations of the religious actors involved in these strategies and considers the tensions that these strategies and their interrelations generate in the political and religious fields. This case study contributes to discussions regarding the sources of religious legitimization for Arab authoritarian regimes.

Sous le signe de Rabia : circulations et segmentations des mobilisations (trans)nationales en Turquie
Marie Vannetzel

[Under the Rabia Sign: Circulations and Segmentations of (Trans)National Mobilization(s) in Turkey]
In summer 2013, following the Egyptian Army’s ouster of President Morsi and the massacre of his supporters, a hand gesture featuring four outstretched fingers, thumb folded back, became a symbol of solidarity with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Though it has since spread across the world, it is in Turkey that this gesture, known as the “Rabia sign” in reference to the site of the massacre, has had the most success, even as it takes different meanings. How is one to understand its adoption and adaptation in the Turkish context? Is this process due to the presence of many MB exiles in this country? This study shows that, far from merely constituting a context of reception, the national and transnational Islamic spaces in Turkey have co-produced the sign and its interpretations. It demonstrates that the circulation of this sign has been intertwined with the synchronization of mobilizations in these spaces but also with their segmentation, particularly in what concerns these spaces and the diasporic space of the MB.

Les rebelles syriens d’Ahrar al-Sham : ressorts contextuels et organisationnels d’une déradicalisation en temps de guerre civile
Ahmad Abazeid, Thomas Pierret

[The Syrian Rebels of Ahrar al-Sham: Contextual and Organizational Motors of Deradicalization in a Time of Civil War]
Originating in the jihadist movement, the Syrian rebel group Ahrar al-Sham has since its creation in 2011 pursued a path of ideological deradicalization. Reaching completion in 2017 when the group officially adopted the Syrian national flag, this transformation is reflected in its adoption of a “revisionist” stance that gradually distanced it from the most radical factions and drew it closer to the dominant revolutionary movement. This trajectory may be interpreted in the light of contextual factors – specifically, the influence wielded by state sponsors of the Syrian uprising and the 2011 emergence of a popular revolutionary project presenting a credible ideological alternative to that of the jihadists. Yet the response of Ahrar al-Sham to these external stimuli can only be understood by reference to its organizational dynamics – that is, its precocious decision to break with transnational jihadi networks and the establishment of a collegial decision-making structure that allowed the group’s reformist wing to consolidate itself at the expense of its doctrinaire rival. This study of the deradicalization process in a context of civil war seeks to contribute to discussions of the dynamics of moderation among Islamist groups, which have hitherto mainly been studied in peacetime or end-of-conflict contexts. It also contributes to our understanding of the mechanisms of ideological transformation among non-state armed groups, a question broadly neglected by theoretical work on civil wars.

Recompositions islamistes sunnites et polarisation confessionnelle dans le Yémen en guerre
Laurent Bonnefoy, Abdulsalam al-Rubaidi

[Sunni Islamist Reconfiguration and Sectarian Polarization in Wartime Yemen]
Coming four years after the peaceful mobilizations of the “Arab Spring” of 2011, the Yemeni conflict is often hastily interpreted in geopolitical terms as an expression of the sectarian rivalry opposing Saudi Arabia and Iran. We seek to move beyond this approach, examining the politico-religious reconfigurations that have taken place in this country since 2013 in a context of violent conflict. This article considers the processes by which, breaking with a particular sectarian arrangement, the Sunni-Shia polarization was constructed and the effects thereby produced within the Sunni Islamist field. The relegation of the al-Islah party, which represents the Muslim Brotherhood, has been accompanied by the growing power of Salafist entrepreneurs. This dynamic is a sign of the reconfiguration of mobilized resources and affirms the prestige of military engagement. We therefore consider the armed conflict a privileged moment for observing processes of identity construction as they are reflected in the statements of Islamist entrepreneurs, the alliances created at the front and confrontations.

Internet et propagande jihadiste : la régulation polycentrique du cyberespace
Valentine Crosset, Benoît Dupont

[The Internet and Jihadist Propaganda: The Polycentric Regulation of Cyberspace]
In recent years, governments and civil society groups have blamed the Internet for spreading jihadist content. States, technology companies and civil society groups have established monitoring practices and solutions to address these concerns, which have assumed an international dimension. Taken as a whole, however, such efforts remain scattered and fragmented. The present article seeks to take stock of this complex system by adopting a polycentric governance approach. This approach contrasts with a state-centric vision to the degree that it favors establishing networks among centers for regulating global problems at several levels. The present article draws on a detailed cartography of the various measures that have been taken to regulate jihadist content. In addition to demonstrating the pluricentric and heterogenous nature of these measures, we present them as an “agonistic” system in which relations are simultaneously marked by conflict and mutual awareness. Yet conflict does not preclude action: over time, polycentric authority structures have given rise to a new architecture and new norms intended to facilitate control of information flows.

Un vote organisé par des gangs ? Observation d’une mission d’observation internationale de l’élection présidentielle de 2014 au Salvador
Erica Guevara

[An Election Held by Gangs? Observation of an International Observation Mission to the 2014 Presidential Election in El Salvador]
How is the gaze of the international electoral observer constructed? While the normalization, generalization and consequences of international election observation systems, seen as tools for “promoting democracy”, have been extensively analyzed, very little attention has been given to the concrete ways in which these missions produce data. On the basis of participant observation of a mission coordinated by an international organization during the 2014 presidential election in El Salvador, this article studies the manner in which the criteria of what is “worth observing” are defined and the degree to which the system succeeds in shaping and directing the observer’s gaze. It outlines the training process by which the neophyte volunteer is transformed into a competent international observer as well as the paradoxes of fieldwork, particularly the difficulty that a foreigner’s eye has in describing what it sees. In El Salvador, the standardization of the observation method and the imperative of neutrality thus led the IO to depoliticize and exclude from its study one of the election’s main issues: the electoral behavior of the maras (the transnational criminal gangs of young people responsible for the high rate of violent death in El Salvador), on which there is still no data.

Les tensions de l’affirmative action dans l’Afrique du Sud post-apartheid. Une analyse de la jurisprudence des tribunaux du travail
Soline Laplanche-Servigne

[The Tensions of Affirmative Action in Post-Apartheid South Africa: An Analysis of Labor Court Jurisprudence]
Since 1998, the South African government has established radical measures intended, not just to fight discrimination, but also to rectify the inequalities produced by the Apartheid regime. At the forefront of these measures is the Employment Equity Act (EEA), which was adopted in 1998. One might expect this law to strongly protect the beneficiaries of affirmative action, and courts to rarely rule in favor of whites when they sued for unjust racial discrimination. Yet it turns out that, in the majority of lawsuits in which a judge finds there has been unjust discrimination, it is on behalf of white plaintiffs. On the basis of this paradox, this article examines the nature of the arguments exchanged in labor courts, arguments that supply the basis for the judge’s distinction between just and unjust racial discrimination. These lawsuits cast new light on the victim of post-Apartheid discrimination, a figure whose contours no longer neatly coincide with a black-white line of division.

État de littérature. Le vigilantisme contemporain. Violence et légitimité d'une activité policière bon marché
Laurent Fourchard


No Abstract


Xavier Bougarel

Edin Hajdarpašić. Whose Bosnia ? Nationalism and Political Imagination in the Balkans 1840-1914, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 2015, XII-271 pages.

Olivier Giraud

Valérie Lozac’h, Des doctrines aux réformes ? La modernisation de l’État en Allemagne, Rennes, Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2016, 282 pages.

Julie Sissia

Jérôme Bazin, Réalisme et égalité. Une histoire sociale de l’art en République démocratique allemande (1949-1990), Dijon, Les Presses du réel, 2015, 261 pages.