Dr. Yasmine Berriane

Senior Researcher and Lecturer URPP Asia and Europe

Yasmine Berriane

URPP Asia and Europe
University of Zzrich
Rämistrasse 66
CH-8001 Zürich

T: +41 44 63 45225
E: yasmine.berriane{at}uzh.ch

Short profile

Trained in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies I am mainly interested in political and social transformations in Middle Eastern and North African States, particularly in contexts where neoliberal reforms and norms are introduced. My empirical focus is on power relations, practices and institutional changes in these contexts. I am particularly interested in the contradictions that are constitutive of these transformations, which I study by combining ethnographic methods and concepts from different disciplines.

In my PhD thesis I studied transformations in the associational sphere in Morocco. Through case studies in the periphery of Casablanca, I focused on reconfigurations of power relations following the introduction of norms and practices of “participation” and “gender equality” in the associational sphere. In the first postdoctoral research project that followed, I studied the transformation of indirect forms of rule through the socio-history of a youth center as an “intermediary space of participation” – that I defined as both a state institution, and a space used by civil society actors. My current project focuses on the close connection between the commodification of land and its political reconfigurations including new forms of protest and negotiation, of political subjectivities and of processes of differentiation and inequalities.

I am currently working as a senior lecturer and researcher at the University of Zurich within the framework of the URPP Asia and Europe (since November 2013) and I am an associate researcher at the Centre de Recherche Economie, Société et Culture (CRESC) of the University Mohammed VI Polytechnique in Rabat. Before that I was a postdoctoral researcher at the Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin. I studied at the Friedrich-Alexander-University in Erlangen-Nürnberg and at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and received my PhD from Sciences Po Paris.

Thematic and regional focus

Research focus: Social and political transformations; Modes of political participation (social movements, NGOs, elections); Gender and politics; State-society relations; Land rights and Politics.

Regional focus: North Africa and the Middle East (Fieldwork in Morocco; extended stays in Lebanon, Syria and Sudan).


Since Nov 2013 Senior researcher and lecturer at the URPP Asia and Europe, UZH. – Habilitation project (see current research projects).
Associate researcher at the Centre de Recherche Sociétés et Culture (CRESC), University Mohammed VI Polytechnique, Rabat.
2013 Qualification to teach Political science (04) and Sociology (19), French National Council of Universities (CNU).
2012–13 Postdoctoral research fellow at the Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin. Research project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF): The youth centre of Hay Mohammadi: The making of a participatory sphere institution in Morocco.
2011–12 Postdoctoral fellow, Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, FU Berlin.
2010–14 Associate member, international ANR/DFG research programme on Anthropology of Law in Africa and Asia (ANDROMAQUE). Contribution on Law, Property and Gender in Morocco: The Soulaliyate movement (with Fadma Ait Mous).
2011 PhD in Political Science, spec. Political Sociology and Public Policy (highest distinction). Dissertation (in French): The feminization of local associations in Morocco: Towards a reconfiguration of power dynamics? – Funding: 3 year scholarship by the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) and Research Award by the Middle East Research Competition (MERC).
2004–05 Research internship at the Orient-Institute Beirut (6 Months).
1999–2004 MA Studies in Political studies, Middle East Studies and Economics at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg und at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. Scholarship by the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation.



Femmes, associations et politique à Casablanca, Series : Description du Maghreb, Rabat: Centre Jacques Berque, 2013. http://books.openedition.org/cjb/351

Peer-reviewed articles and book chapters

“La fabrique de la coutume au Maroc: le droit des femmes aux terres collectives” (with Karen Rignal), Cahiers du Genre, 62, 2017, S.97-118. URL: https://www.cairn.info/revue-cahiers-du-genre-2017-1-page-97.htm

“Constructing the space of the social. The multiple mediation figures at youth centres in Casablanca”, Recherches du CRESC, n° 2, avril 2017. URL: http://www.egerabat.com/cresc/?page_id=1424This

“Bridging social divides: leadership and the making of an alliance for women’s land-use rights in Morocco”, Review of African Political Economy, 43:149, 2016, pp. 350–364. http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/wjzjgNgd4WXK8EKji9px/full

“Construire l’espace du social. Les multiples figures de l’intermédiation dans les maisons de jeunes à Casablanca”, in I. Bono and B. Hibou (eds.), Le gouvernement du social au Maroc, Paris : Karthala (Collection « Recherches internationales »), 2016, pp. 45-82.

“Political Parties and Participation: Morocco”, Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, Online Supplement XIII, 2016.  http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopedia-of-women-and-islamic-cultures/political-parties-and-participation-morocco-COM_002046

“Inclure les 'n’ayants pas droit' : Terres collectives et inégalités de genre au Maroc », L’Année du Maghreb, 13, 2015, pp. 61–78. http://anneemaghreb.revues.org/2546

“The micropolitics of reform: Gender quota, grassroots associations and the renewal of local elites in Morocco”, Journal of North African Studies, Vol. 20, No. 3, 2015, pp. 432–449. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13629387.2015.1017815#abstract

“Le Maroc au temps des femmes ? La féminisation des associations locales en question“, Année du Maghreb, 7, 2011, CNRS Editions, pp. 332–342.

“The Complexities of Inclusive Participatory Governance: the case of Moroccan associational life in the context of the INDH”, Journal of Economic and Social Research, Vol.12, No. 1, 2010, pp. 89–111.

“Intermédiations stratégiques: l'engagement de militantes associatives locales dans la campagne pour les législatives marocaines de 2007”, in L. Zaki (ed.), Terrains de campagne: Les législatives de septembre 2007 au Maroc, Paris : Karthala/IRMC, 2009, pp. 161–191.

Non peer-reviewed articles and book chapters

“Frances S. Hasso, Zakia Salime (dir.), Freedom without Permission. Bodies and Space in the Arab Revolutions”, Lectures [En ligne], Les comptes rendus, 2017, mis en ligne le 06 mars 2017. URL : http://lectures.revues.org/22444

“Droit à la terre et lutte pour l'égalité au Maroc: Le mouvement des soulaliyates” (with F. Ait Mous), in H. Rachik (ed.), Contester le droit. Communautés, familles et héritage au Maroc, Casablanca : Ed. La Croisée des Chemins, 2016, pp. 87–173. 

„Der Kampf der arabischen Frauen um ihre Rechte“ (with B. Dennerlein). UZH Magazin, 25(2), 2016, pp. 44–45.

“Les municipales de 2009 : une ethnographie côté femmes”, in B. Dupret (ed.), Le Maroc au Présent : d’une époque à l’autre, une société en mutation, Rabat/Casablanca : Fondation Al Saoud/Centre Jacques Berque, Collection Dialogue des deux rives, 2015, pp. 315–325.    

 “Terres collectives et inégalités : Le combat des soulaliyates” (with F. Ait Mous), Economia, May 2014, pp. 28–31.

“L’accès des femmes aux associations locales au Maroc”, in M.P. Anglade et al. (ed.), Expériences du genre. Intimité, marginalités, travail et migration, Paris/Casablanca : Karthala/Le Fennec, 2014, pp. 243–262.

“Le mouvement des Soulaliyates: une mobilisation sectorisée de femmes pour le droit à la terre” (with F. Ait Mous), in A. Allal & Th. Pierret (ed.), Au cœur des révoltes arabes. Devenir révolutionnaires, Paris: Armand Colin, 2013, pp. 83–85.

“Casablanca racontée par ses vendeuses de lben : trois regards à la croisée de la ville et de la campagne” (with L. Bouasria), in M.Peraldi and M.Tozy (eds.), Casablanca : Figures et scènes métropolitaines, Paris : CJB/Karthala/CM2S, 2011, pp. 141–165.

“An-nisā' wa-l-ḥayāt al-cāmma fī l-mağrib: naḥwa tanawwuc fī-l-muqāraba wa ictibār al-bucd al-maḥallī” [Women and Public Life in Morocco : Towards new Approaches taking into Consideration the Local Perspective (in Arabic)], Awrâq al-Awsat, no. 2, Cahiers du CERES, Tunis, 2009, pp. 100-122.

“La production de l’ordre social urbain” (with Ismail Ameur et al.), in P. R. Baduel (ed.), La ville et l’urbain dans le Monde arabe et en Europe. Acteurs, Organisations et Territoires, Paris : Maisonneuve & Larose, 2008, pp. 189-199.

“Zwischen Enttäuschung und Hoffnungsschimmer: die unsichtbare Präsenz der Frauen an den saudischen Kommunalwahlen”, Femina Politica, 14. Jg., Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 110-113.

“The Cool King und die Presse – Wandel des Bildes der Monarchie seit Amtsantritt von Mohammed VI”, INAMO, No. 44, Winter 2005, pp. 4-8.

Work in progress

“Développement et contremouvements : Réflexions autour des conflits nés de la marchandisation des terres collectives au Maroc“, International Development Policy, Special issue (accepted with minor changes).

“La fabrique de la coutume au Maroc: le cas de l'exclusion des femmes du droit aux terres collectives“ (with Karen Rignal), Cahiers du Genre, Special issue (accepted with minor changes).

“Reforming gendered property rights: The case of collective land in Morocco”, in Doris Gray and Nadia Sonneveld (eds.), Gender, Law and Social Change in North Africa, Cambridge University Press (accepted with minor changes).



Workshop: Feminism and Theory in the Arab World, 18-19 March 2016 (with B. Dennerlein). A cooperation of the URPP Asia and Europe, the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies – Gender Studies und Middle East Studies, the Swiss Society for Gender Studies (SGGF). Funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Roundtable: Women’s and Gender Studies in Arab and Swiss Universities, 18 March 2016 (with B. Dennerlein). A cooperation of the URPP Asia and Europe, the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies – Gender Studies und Middle East Studies, the Swiss Society for Gender Studies (SGGF). Funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Workshop: Snapshots of Change: Assessing Social Transformations in Qualitative Research, 23–24 October 2015 (with A. Kreil, Th. Kelegama, D. Lüddeckens, Melek Saral), URPP Asia and Europe. Funded by the UZH Graduate Campus; ZUNIV; Wilhelm-Jerg-Legat.

Lecture Series : Constitutional Reform and Social Change in Asia and the Middle East: Law, Politics and Theory, Spring Semester 2015 (with D. Chiavacci and M. Mahlmann), URPP Asia and Europe. A cooperation with the Faculty of Law (UZH).

Workshop: Social Movements in Theory and Practice, 24–25 October 2014, URPP Asia and Europe. A cooperation with the Center for African Studies Basel.

Workshop: Gendering Citizenship (Guest lecturer: Prof. Suad Joseph, University of California, Davis), 10 September 2014 (with B. Dennerlein), URPP Asia and Europe. A cooperation with the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies and the Swiss Society for Gender Studies (SGGF).

Panel: Travelling Concepts: New Research Trends on Gender and Society in Morocco, 18–22 August 2014 (with L. Bouasria), 4th WOCMES, Middle East Technical University Ankara.

Workshop : Dispossession and Collective Action. Neoliberal (Re)Structurings of the Rural in Egypt, Morocco and Turkey, 24–25 October 2013 (with E. Evren and S. Sippel), Zentrum Moderner Orient & Center for Area Studies (CAS), Berlin. Programm

Workshop: Approches comparatives du “politique par le bas”: Enjeux méthodologiques, 28 June 2008 (with S. Arsene, M.-L. Geoffray, A. Le Renard, S. Laplanche-Servigne), Sciences Po Paris.

Talks (selection)

“Claiming Rights beyond the Local-Global Divide: The Women’s Land Rights Movement in Morocco”, Conference: The Nordic Africa Days 2016: Gender and change: global challenges for Africa?, 22-24 September 2016, The Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala (Sweden), Uppsala University.

“Participation des femmes dans les partis politiques au Maroc”, Konferenz : Compter (sur) les femmes dans la vie politique – expériences du Maroc et de la Tunisie, 28 June 2016, UNESCO, Paris.

“Le mouvement des Soulaliyates : une mobilisation au croisement entre revendications économiques et de droits humains au Maroc”, Conference  : Les mouvements sociaux en « Afrique du Nord » (Maghreb et Egypte) avant, pendant et après 2011 : contextes, processus et caractéristiques, 25–27 May 2016, University Paris 8-Vincennes à Saint Denis. 

„Genre et mobilisations en faveur de l’égalité au Maroc : Le mouvement des soulaliyates“, Conference: Genre et globalisation. Circulations, mobilisations et cadres d’action, 26–28 November 2015, University Paris-Diderot. Programm

„Reforming gendered property rights: The case of collective land in Morocco“, Brismes Annual Conference, Panel: Gender and Property Rights in the Middle East and North Africa, 24–26. June 2015, LSE – London.

“Land, inequalities and protest: The making of an alliance for equal property rights in Morocco”, Conference: Questioning social inequality and difference in the Arab region, 13–15 March 2015, Arab Council for the Social Sciences, Beirut.

„Propriété, citoyenneté et terres collectives: Comment étudier les ayant-pas-droits“. Seminar: Primavera Mediterranea, 6 March 2015, University of Torino, Italy. Programm

“Construire l’espace du social. Les multiples figures de l’intermédiation dans les maisons de jeunes à Casablanca”, Konferenz: Le gouvernement du social au Maroc : Une perspective comparée, 17–19 December 2014, CRESC/Mohammed VI University Rabat.

“Studying changing power dynamics within Morocco’s associational sphere through a gender perspective”, Panel: Travelling Concepts: New Research Trends on Gender and Society in Morocco, August 2014, Middle East Technical University Ankara. 4th WOCMES, Ankara.

“Aktuelle Veränderungen von Frauenrechten in Marokko”. Colloquium: Ethnologie kolonialer und postkolonialer Ordnungen, Exzellenzcluster – Die Herausbildung normativer Ordnungen, 12. June 2014, Institute of Anthropology, Goethe-University Frankfurt.

“Femmes et associations de quartier au Maroc: quelle (re-)négociation des rapports de genre?”. Lecture Series: Femmes, genre et mobilisations collectives en Afrique, 27 January 2012, University Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne. Programm

“Die Feminisierung lokaler Vereine in Marokko als Zeichen einer Umgestaltung der Machtverhältnisse?”. Lecture Series: Politik – Ökonomie – Diskurse: Afrikanische Frauen bewegen, 6 December 2011, OSI-Club, FU Berlin.

“Women and Local Politics in Morocco: Campaigning in times of pro-participatory policies”, MESA Conference, Panel: Local Governance and State-Society Relations in Morocco and Jordan, 1–4 December 2011, Washington DC.

Teaching at the University of Zurich

Spring Semester 2016: „Zwischen Umbruch und Kontinuität: Politik und Gesellschaft in Nordafrika“, Seminar for Phd candidates and MA Students, Institute for Political Studies.

Spring Semester 2015: (with Aymon Kreil) “Studying Change: Epistemological and methodological challenges”, Seminar for PhD candidates and MA-Students, URPP Asia and Europe.

Fall Semester 2014 : “Religion und Politik in Nordafrika”: BA-Seminar, Institute of Religious Studies.

Since 2013 (each semester): “Forschungswerkstatt: Normen und Ordnungen”: Seminar for PhD candidates, URPP Asia & Europe.

Reviewing activities/Memberships

Member of the scientific board: L’Année du Maghreb, CNRS/IREMAM (since 2013).

Reviewer: Research Foundation Flanders (2016), Arab Studies Journal (2015); Cahiers Agricultures (2015); Genre, Sexualité et Société (2015), L’Année du Maghreb (2013, 2014, 2015), Critique Internationale (2010).

Association memberships

  • Swiss Qualitative Research Encounters (SQUARE)
  • Research and Study Group on Gender in Morocco (GREGaM) : Founding Member and editor of it scientific blog Blog.
  • Observatory of Transformations in the Arab World (OTMA), IRD/INED, Frankreich.
  • Contemporary Middle East and North African (MENA) Research Network, Switzerland.
  • Swiss Society for Gender Studies (SGGF).
  • Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Vorderer Orient (DAVO), Germany.