The book provides a new approach to the study of the prevalence of authoritarianism in the MENA. It re-introduces socio-institutional variables into this debate without resorting to essentialist macro-claims; rather, it focuses on the micro-dynamics of symbolic power. The book provides an alternative way to conceptualize political legitimacy and power in the Middle East. It argues that the monarchy’s religious authority and its use of rituals of power limit the ability of Islamist and non-Islamist opposition groups to contest the monarchy’s legitimacy. This study goes beyond most institutionalist accounts of authoritarian persistence by exploring the micro-dynamics of symbolic power and the extent to which the regime uses rituals of power to create a political culture conducive to the monarchy’s supremacy in the socio-political realm, thus promoting regime stability in Morocco.
These rituals have been institutionalized in the political system and have become part of the political discourse in Morocco. The study examines the effects of the ritualization of the political process on oppositional—especially Islamist—forces. The book argues that the monarchy’s religious authority and its use of rituals of power impede the ability of Islamist and other opposition groups to mobilize and to penetrate Moroccan society. The prevalence of this cultural and social hegemony contributes to the stability and resilience of the monarchical authoritarian regime in Morocco.