The participation of civil society in the management of local public affairs in Morocco, the participative committee as a model
مشاركة جمعيات المجتمع المدني في تدبير الشأن العام المحلي في المغرب، اللجان التشاورية كنموذج
Brahim mazzal /Research student University UM5, Morocco
إبراهيم مزال/طالب باحث بكلية علوم التربية، المغرب
مقال منشور في مجلة جيل العلوم الانسانية والاجتماعية العدد 84 الصفحة 129.ملخص :
تهدف هذه الدراسة إلى تعميق الفهم حول طبيعة العلاقة بين الفاعل المدني والفاعل السياسي على مستوى اللجان التشاورية التي يتم إحداثها على صعيد المقاطعات، الجماعات، ومجالس العمالات في المغرب، وذلك من حيث تفسير المعنى الذي يعطيه الفاعل المدني للتشاور العمومي، و البحث عن أبرز الأسباب والعوائق التي تحول دون نجاح تنزيل المقاربة التشاركية على المستوى الواقعي، وحتى نتمكن من عرض الموضوع بطريقة موجزة، توصلت الدراسة من خلال اعتمادها المنهج الاثنوميتودولوجي، والمنهج الاستقرائي التحليلي إلى مجموعة من الخلاصات والنتائج أهمها انعدام الثقة بين الفاعل المدني والسياسي، تداخل على مستوى الاختصاصات، فضلا عن وجود طريقة تفكير تقليدية تحكم اختيار أعضاء هاذه اللجنة.
الكلمات المفتاحية: المجتمع المدني، المقاربة التشاركي، السياسة العمومية.
This study aims to understand the nature of the relationship between the civil actor and the political actor at the level of consultative committees, that are established at the level of Morocco provinces, in terms of interpreting the meaning that the civil actor gives to public consultation, and looking for the most prominent causes and obstacles that prevents the success of the participatory approach at the realistic level, and so that we can present the topic in a concise manner. This research concluded through its adoption of the ethno-methodological approach and the inductive-analytical approach to a set of results, the most important of which is the lack of trust between the civil and political actors, overlap at the level of specializations, as well as the existence of a traditional way of thinking. that governs the selection of the members of this committee.
Keywords: civil society, participatory approach, public policy.
As the democratically developed countries which have conducted a participatory policy in the management of local public affairs in partnership with civil society. Since the constitutional amendment in 2011. Morocco adopted a participatory approach as a legal constitutional reference that would generally lead to this process and adopt it as a new urban culture. That has perhaps awakened our attention to know the most important aspects and bets strongly interfere in this relationship between what is representative and participatory in general, and the representations of the individuals involved in this process more specifically. We have tried to approach this question by trying to interpret the experience of the consultative committees that some provinces in Morocco have created in order to involve civil society in the management of local public affairs, which has made us asking a set of questions, for example: how does civil society define the concept and meaning of a participatory approach? And how do elected councils manage this democratic mechanism?
In order to solve these problems, we have tried to make hypotheses that we would like to verify by examining previous studies on the subject, as well as doing a practical experience in the field of study, that we have assumed that the lack of clarity of the concept of participatory democracy at the institutional and legislative level, as well as at the civil level, creating a kind of political and civil intertwining in the management of these committees, in addition, the presence of a strong influence on the traditional relations in this committee ( presenting an incompetent close person – who has the same affiliation, instead of qualifying an unknown competent)
The sociological nature of the research has forced us to adopt the qualitative method with its two techniques, the direct observation and auto-ethnography. As far as the research sample is concerned, we relied on the presidents of associations involved in these consultative committees, as well as on opponents of the idea, and representatives of local authority and elected bodies.
Through some studies that have been examined on the same subject, and through a subjective experience that covers the organs and structures of these committees. I discovered that there are imbalances that constitute a kind of overlap between representative democracy which represents local councils and participatory democracy which represents civil society and citizens in general. So that I could work on dividing this problem into partial questions that I wanted to answer through my contact with the field and previous studies on this subject. the questions are:
- How does civil society define the concept and meaning of a participatory approach?
- What is the perception of the civil actor towards the political actor?
- And how do elected councils manage this democratic mechanism?
based on the central research problematical, temporary generalizations have been made in the form of hypotheses, they are as follows:
- The lack of trust is the secret of the relationship between the municipal and provincial council and civil society.
- The lack of clarity on the concept of participatory democracy at the legislative institutional level, as well as at the civil level.
- There is a civil political overlap and interference in the representative seats of these consultative committees.
- Consultative committees are governed by traditional relationships.
Reasons for choosing this topic
This study aims to clarify the type of relationship that binds the civil actor and the political actor in decision-making at the level of the consultative commission, in addition to trying to understand some parameters that strongly influence in this relationship. which can come from the social and political situation and the cultural affiliation of individuals, and the other side, our research aims to highlight the place of the participatory approach and its essential role in local development, then to research the mechanisms and determinants of the roles, and the choice of this subject was not arbitrary or spontaneous, but rather the result of several considerations, in particular for subjective and objective reasons.
The subjective reasons:
Our choice of this subject is due to the extreme importance of this study which deserves attention, based on our personal experience within the structures of these committees. it appears that there is a set of imbalances and randomness that prevent the achievement of harmony between civil society and elected bodies. This is why we aspire to understand and explain the nature of this relationship, as well as the fact that ancient studies in this regard are very few.
The objective reasons:
These objective reasons are reflected in the fact that the participatory approach deserves to be clarified, it plays an essential role in strengthening the social link as well as it brings together various social phenomena that require research and studies.
The importance of this research
The importance of this research is linked to the fact that it brings the concept of a participatory approach closer, following the path of its development at the level of the consultative committees that have been created by the territorial groups and the provinces, and trying to understand the nature of this new perception of democratization from the point of view of the associations and citizens, as well as the representatives of the territorial group overseeing the progress of this participatory mechanism.
Field of study :
The spatial domain of our research subject was limited to the province Hssein sale in Morocco .The district of Hssaine is located southeast of the city of Salé, limited to the north by the district Laayayda, to the south by the Commune Sehoul and the Bouregreg river, to the west by the district Bettana and the Bouregreg river.
Study community and sampling
The stage of selection of the study community is an important stage in any scientific research, because it is considered a critical stage of the study, in this case i used the intentional sampling or non-probability sampling, i have targeted in this context citizens in general and associations in Morocco who have the right to participate in the management of public affairs.
To answer these questions, building on previous studies of civil society and participatory democracy, which focused primarily on the basis of its relationship with the state in general, what sets this research apart is that it focuses in particular on perceptions, and the meaning that people give to the concept of the participatory approach as a first step in understanding and interpreting what members hold. For this reason I used multiple approaches from a qualitative and descriptive method, more precisely the technique “auto ethnography and “participant observation”  so that my experience within these consultative committees allows me to keep abreast of this new participatory project from attending the founding general assembly and participating in the development of the organized operating charter of this committee, and its relationship with civil society associations.
The previous studies :
It is difficult to determine a precise date for the birth of the concept of a participatory approach, as it is closely linked to the concept of civil society, since this new designation has gone through several developments related to the process of economic, social and political development and the intellectual and philosophical development.
From the beginning, it is due to Aristotle, who defined civil society as human groups linked to the centers of civilization and far from the tribal and religious relations of kinship, and its proximity to a concept of citizenship. However, the real beginning of the concept of civil society was associated with the emergence of capitalist society and the development of liberal political thought in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries, this era witnessed the collapse of absolute feudal rule and the beginning of the transformation from the virtual nature state to the concept of state and law.
We can then distinguish four major stages in the development of this concept from the 17th and 18th centuries, which saw the collapse of the feudal system and the emergence of capitalism as a new class, and the main problem facing the thinkers of this stage, is how to reconstruct the concept of civil society from a perspective that paves the way for The reconstruction of politics on non-religious and non-aristocratic foundations, linked to society itself and not to a divine commission or to a family heritage, and from this moment a gradual transition from a theory of divine truth to a theory expressing popular sovereignty, paved the way for this passage to an evolution towards political modernity, and among the most recognized theoreticians of this period are: Hobbs, Locke, Tocqueville, Montesquieu, Rousseau and Spinoza.
Notably, the thoughts of Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau and their writings on the social contract and the transition from the state of nature to the concept of the state and law,  Then the second stage of the 19th century, which saw an almost complete break with the feudal system. After capitalism accomplished its industrial revolution, it transferred politics from the religious and customary realm to the social realm, that is, it made it a real human contract, and these developments led to the separation individuals from their old relationships, that strongly proposed the problem of rebuilding industrial civil society on new foundations and understanding its new reality. These theoretical problems were tackled by the great philosophers of the 19th century, the first of which are Hegel and Marx, who would practically control the thought of this century. For Frederick Hegel, the legal and economic ties that govern people’s relations with each other and guarantee their cooperation represent only one moment in a larger process that finds itself embodied in the state itself, and it is in fact the nation state.
Civil society represents a qualitative progress compared to raw nature, but it finds its true content only in the State which embodies the absolute, that is to say freedom, law and historical purpose in its most visible manifestation. Civil society remains a society of individual interests and private enterprise, that is a society of division, individual possession and conflict, and finds its existence only in the state.
As for the third stage, it begins in the first half of the 20th century and takes place in the context of the intensification of the struggle to reconstruct the revolutionary strategy in Europe. The Italian thinker Antonio Gramsci was most responsible for the development of this new use. Gramsci tried to bring up the subject of civil society within the framework of the theory of domination and class domination, whether in his book The Modern Prince, and he mentioned that there are two main areas which guarantee the stability of domination Capitalism and its system. The first area is the state and its apparatus, to obtain direct control, which is politics, and the second area is the civil society and what it represents of parties, trade unions, associations, media, schools, mosques or churches.
the last stage, it is linked to the last two decades of the 20th century, in which the concept of civil society was linked to the Gramscian heritage but after its purification from the impurities of Marxism, to retain the idea of private social organizations bodies and institutions working alongside the state – but not under its control – to organize society, revitalize it and achieve In this sense, civil society today represents the vast network of organizations that modern societies have developed over their long history and which support the work of the state. After civil society has become an autonomous entity and a key partner in national and local development,
In particular, at the level of territorial authorities and local authorities responsible for advising advisory bodies made up of representatives of civil society, the first legal signal was to involve citizens in public decisions with Law 17.08 amending the collective charter in 2009 which included the participatory approach at two levels: the creation of an “Equality and Equal Opportunities Committee”, of an advisory nature and composed of representatives of associations and civil society actors, expressing opinions and making proposals. Adopt a participatory methodology for the development of a collective development plan.
The creation of “Equality and Equal Opportunities Committee”, of an advisory nature and composed of representatives of associations and civil society actors, expressing opinions and making proposals. Adopt a participatory methodology for the development of a collective. Then, the 2011 constitution has become a basic reference for the participatory approach and the consolidation of citizen participation in all stages of public decision-making, in particular the first chapter of the section on general provisions stipulates what follows: “The constitutional order of the Kingdom is based on the separation of powers, their balance and cooperation, citizenship and participatory democracy, the principles of good governance and the link between responsibilities.” Chapter twelve, which stipulates the participation of associations in the elaboration of decisions and projects with elected institutions and public authorities, as well as in their activation and evaluation.
The legal framework established for the work of these advisory committees is not sufficient for their work so as to guarantee their sustainability and the success of their experience. This new perception linked to the participatory approach in the management of local public affairs has different images and meanings on the structure of the perception of individuals participating in this process, due to the fact that it is a new experience adopted by local communities, hence the importance of this research that highlights the study of the perceptions of individuals on the concept of participatory approach on the one hand and the nature of the relationship that binds them as civil actors with the political actor on the other hand.
Results and discussion
To answer these questions, building on previous studies of civil society and participatory democracy, which focused primarily on the basis of its relationship with the state in general, what sets this research apart in particular, ti focuses on perceptions and the meaning that people give to the concept of the participatory approach, as a first step in understanding and interpreting what members hold. For this reason i used multiple approaches from a qualitative and descriptive method, more precisely the technique “auto ethnography” so that my experience within these consultative committees allows me to keep abreast of this new participatory project from attending the founding general assembly, and participating in the development of the organized operating charter of this committee, and its relationship with civil society associations.
Proceeding from participant observation as well as the “auto-ethnography” method, we noticed that the participatory approach at the district level identifies wide imbalances, the first reason is the lack of clarity of the concept of the participatory approach among a wide range of civil actors, and that was evident in the association’s relationship with the consultative committee, so that a wide category asked the consultative committee to carry out tasks within the competence of the Collective council, and have greater expectations of this new body, although this committee does not have a budget for the revitalization of local public activities, it also has no right to impose her opinion on the elected council, but rather her opinion is only advisory. as well as it does not have the decision to manage on its roles and responsibilities individually and independently of the county council, which has created great confusion for a large group of civil actors in their relations with this consultative committee.
In addition, I noticed the low demand for participation in the structures of the consultative committee, given the large number of associations present in the region, and that explains the hypothesis that the concept of the participatory approach is still obscured by a large group of associations and citizens. Also there are other reasons why civil society associations do not engage and participate in consultative committees, which is the feeling of mistrust towards the political actor, that their opinion does not contribute in a participatory manner in the management of public affairs and in decision-making.
As for the traditional perception in which a large group of civil society within the consultative committee, I discovered that there is a relationship of a mutual influence between the actor political and civil society, Where the most representative party in the council can mobilize associations sympathetic to the party in order to push a specific candidate to chair the consultative committee to look for the harmony, but at the level of associations relationship each other, within the framework of presenting or nominating a person to take over the position of head of the consultative committee, there is an important group of them, and not all, support the person that they know even if he does not have the required qualifications, and they do not support the person who is stranger to them despite his competence. This traditional thinking, operating with the logic of kinship and patronage, inevitably leads to the election of members who do not have the qualifications and competencies that would allow the management of the commission. In this way, the commission gets into many problems. Because the people elected in the offices are not up to the aspirations of citizens and other associations.
All these reasons pointed to the inability of an important category of civil society associations to engage in this new participatory approach, and that the weakness and lack of training in this area also played a fundamental role in simplifying this concept, and its implications on the ground, that legislation alone is not sufficient for the success of any new development plan.
Finally, after knowing the historical context of the development of the civil society concept, and taking a new forms of expression and political participation with the state, which called for the obligation of the participation of citizens and local associations in decision-making, with using a participatory approach that includes everyone, what distinguishes this study is to shed light on how these committees operate and try to understand the interaction of the various actors within them, and their perceptions of this new democratic approach, From a sociological perspective, and at the local organizational level, by following the functioning of the consultative committees in provinces, and trying to explain and understand the nature of the relationship that connects the civil actor to the political actor.
We finally concluded that the concept of participatory democracy is still a mysterious concept in collective circles in Morocco in general, and in the province of “Hessein” in particular, that these consultative committees operate according to a traditional partisan and ideological logic in an implicit way, which contribute in the division within the structures of these committees, And it weakens its ability to continue and succeed.
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11 – the officiel website of hessein province, : https://www.villedesale.ma/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%B7%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%AA/%D8%A7%D8%AD%D8%B5%D9%8A%D9%86/
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 Visit the site Web on 12-01-2022 https://www.villedesale.ma/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%B7%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%AA/%D8%A7%D8%AD%D8%B5%D9%8A%D9%86/
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 Patrick Chézaud, La Philosophie de Thomas Reid : Des Lumières au XIXe siècle. Nouvelle édition : UGA Éditions, Grenoble,2002, p 288.
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Karl Marx, Le capital, Traduction : Roy, Joseph, Éditeur : M. Lachâtre Publication, M. Lachâtre,Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Réserve des livres rares, RES M-R-191,Paris 1872.
Jean Pierre lefebvre, Macherey Pierre, Hegel et la société, Presses universitaires de France, 1984, p 128.
 Antonio gramsci, Modern prince and other writings ,International Publishers Co Inc.,U.S. 1959,p 192
 الوزارة المنتدبة لدى رئيس الحكومة المكلفة بالعلاقات مع البرلمان، الميثاق الوطني للديمقراطية التشاركية،(2009).
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