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Identity in Algerian Politics: The Legacy of Colonial Rule

J.N.C. Hill
Identity in Algerian Politics: The Legacy of Colonial Rule
ISBN: 978-1-58826-608-8
ISBN: 978-1-62637-107-1
2009/223 pages/LC: 2009002521
"This magisterial study will serve as a fine introduction for laymen and scholars alike to the problems of modernization and identity politics afflicting this North African state."—Alex Marshall, Intelligence and National Security

"A scholarly and deep dive into Algerian political history and personalities."—Youssef Aboul-Enein, Small Wars Journal

"Thought provoking and interesting.... A welcome addition to the growing body of scholarly literature on Algeria's troubled national identity."—Daniel Zisenwine, Bustan

"Looking in depth at the relationship between nation building and political action in Algeria, this book contributes to a better understanding of the political dynamics that still characterize postcolonial societies. It is recommended for all those interested in the political and economic history of Algeria since colonization."—Francesco Cavatorta, Dublin City University


J.N.C. Hill explores the multiple causes of two decades of profound political change, social and economic upheaval, and bitter conflict in postindependence Algeria.

Hill focuses on the relationship between identity and sociopolitical stability as he examines the trajectory of Algerian nation building.  How did French colonization and the war of liberation transform Algerian identities? How has the contestation of national identity contributed to the instability that emerged in the late 1980s? What part has the rise of Islamism and Berberism played? What has been the role of foreign actors? Addressing these questions, as well as theimpact of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Hill argues that how the Algerian government defines the nation is inextricably linked to its ability now and in the future to maintain political and social stability.


J.N.C. Hill is lecturer in defense studies at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, King’s College London.


  • Introduction.
  • French Colonial Rule and Its Enduring Legacies.
  • Algerian Nationalism and the War of Liberation.
  • Independence and the Challenges of Nation Building.
  • Economic Crisis and the Descent into Violence.
  • National Identity and the Ongoing Struggle.