Weapons of the weak, and of the strong: Mauritanian foreign policy and the international dimensions of social activism

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Abstract

This article examines the forms of interplay between the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and the international standing recently gained by some of the country's socio-political activists. These different forms of political argumentation are affected by Mauritania's ‘Islamic republic’ label, which, adopted following independence in 1960, has been opportunistically used by the state and has become a double-edged sword when used to legitimate foreign and domestic policies. After discussing official expressions of foreign policy, the article moves on to examine the forms of social activism that have more recently questioned the country's social landscape. The article concludes that Mauritanian foreign policy is in clear relation with a recent shift in the social agenda that questions Mauritania's social structures, political apparatus and the state's formal designation as an Islamic republic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-505
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of North African Studies
Volume24
Issue number3
Early online date4 Apr 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Islamic republic
  • social activism
  • Foreign policy
  • Mauritania

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