The Sportive Origin of Revolution: Youth Movements and Generational Conflicts in Late Colonial Algeria


  • Jakob Krais Gerda Henkel Stiftung



Algeria, Anti-colonialism, Youth Movements, Play-communities


Starting in the 1920s and 30s, youth came to be seen, in colonial Algeria as elsewhere in the Arab world, as a social category that educators, academics and politicians had to deal with in one way or another. Modernizers and many young men and women established a host of youth movements from the 1920s onwards: cultural circles and student associations, sports teams and scout troops as well as youth wings of political parties. In this contribution I examine such youth movements and the generational conflicts they brought with them in French Algeria from around 1930 until the achievement of independence in 1962. Based on theories by Johan Huizinga and José Ortega y Gasset about the generative potential of generational communities centered around play, I will demonstrate the importance of allegedly non-political youth groups for the social and political transformations in late colonial Algeria.


Jakob Krais, Gerda Henkel Stiftung

is currently a research fellow with the special program "Islam, the Modern Nation-State and Transnational Movements" at Gerda Henkel Foundation with a research project on sports and modernity in colonial Algeria. He is affiliated with Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) and the Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin, as well as with the Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies (CNMS), Marburg. He studied History, Islamic Studies and Philosophy in Berlin and Rome and obtained his PhD (on historiography and nation-building in Qaddafi's Libya) from Freie Universität Berlin in 2014.






Krais, J. „The Sportive Origin of Revolution: Youth Movements and Generational Conflicts in Late Colonial Algeria“. Middle East - Topics & Arguments, Bd. 9, Dezember 2017, S. 132-41, doi:10.17192/meta.2017.9.6965.