A multidisciplinary research laboratory

The Centre for Research in Economics, Society, and Culture (CRESC) was set up in 2014 at EGE Rabat / Faculty of Governance, Economics and Social Science, Mohamed VI Polytechnic University, and builds upon previous research experiences in Morocco (Moroccan Centre for Research in Social Science at Hassan II University, Casablanca, and abroad (European network for the study of political affairs).

Researching new trends in Morocco and other African countries

As a research laboratory comprising the whole range of disciplines related to economics, human and social sciences, the CRESC aims to broaden what we know about the societies in which we live. The Centre purports to consider the specificity and historicity of these societies, while staying clear of any normative discourse and concept that typify the global expertise outlook.

Locally embedded, CRESC researchers pay special attention to on-going mutations in Morocco and, more generally, across the African continent, to dynamic trends within these societies, and to the changing meanings of social action, institutions, and relations.

CRESC is headed by Mohamed Tozy, research director and political scientist specialising in religion in Morocco, and by Béatrice Hibou, research director at CRNS CERI/ Science Po Paris.

Research activities focus on four main areas:

  • sociology of religion
  • social change
  • state processes and domination
  • economy of Morocco and emergent countries

CRESC aims to train young university lecturers through research, involving them in projects and preparing to take to the field through empirical research. It is particularly interested in the involvement of doctoral and post-doctoral researchers in the networks of research worldwide, thanks to its link to top research networks in Europe and North America.

CRESC organises regular research activities over the academic year. PEASS students registered for the long or mid-length program can be involved.

Research week

Designed to stimulate interaction and research in social science, the EGE ‘research week’ is held twice a year, in May and December.

Research week aims to integrate EGE into the international academic community through social science debates and discussions regarding topical issues, with the participation of international researchers. In recent years, EGE research weeks were devoted to the following themes: welfare state, economic techniques throughout history, Frantz Fanon, Max Weber, etc…

CRESC seminar

The CRESC seminar is the research centre seminar aimed at teaching faculty, CRESC researchers, and more advanced students (doctoral or advanced Master’s students). The seminar is a way of promoting a scientific approach that is both multidisciplinary and comparative, as well as an approach to social science that is at least compatible, if not common, combining the importance given to fieldwork, reading tasks, and updating the main debates currently taking place among international intellectuals, with critical thinking that circumvents in-fashion and hegemonic thought processes.

CRESC Conferences

These conferences provide the opportunity to listen to Moroccan, as well as international researchers present their research or share their reading of current events, based on their research. These conferences are not only open to all interested students and academics, but also to the wider public.

Doctoral workshop

The doctoral workshop aims to train Master’s and Doctoral students registered at Mohamed VI Polytechnic University, at Moroccan public universities or universities abroad, to as well as through research, by focusing on methodology issues.

The doctoral workshop is held monthly and addresses a specific theme such as a particular author, a research issue, an intellectual movement, a critical approach or else a particular methodological approach.

Over the last year, the doctoral workshop focused on the following issues: youth, combined approaches in economics and social science, Jean Leca and political science, fieldwork and data collection techniques, sociology and beliefs, quantitative methods, Max Weber, etc.

Each month, the doctoral workshop is an opportunity for students to read in greater depth about a theme, write papers on authors or methodological approaches that inform their own research, or present in front of more experienced researchers, progress made in their theoretical or empirical work.

French-speaking PEASS students registered for a Master’s or a Doctorate have the possibility to register for the doctoral workshop.

Study days

Study days are organised around the activities of CRESC research groups and researchers to present work plans or on-going research, with the involvement of colleagues from other academic institutions.

Doctoral training and research activities offered by CRESC are organised around chairs and theme-based research groups.


Academic chairs, based around one or several researchers of international standing, bring together young, doctoral, or post-doctoral researchers who produce research in other complementary areas, using the CRESC research approach.

The Paul Pascon Chair for Social Science is headed by Hassan Rachik.

The African Studies Chair is headed by Jean-François Bayart.

Research groups

CRESC research groups can bring together researchers from different academic disciplines around one research area. Under the coordination of one or several researchers, research groups conduct research over a more extensive period of time destined for publication.

CRESC currently hosts 7 research groups:

  • welfare management in Morocco
  • religion, state, and society
  • social anthropology of relations between nature, culture and environment in Morocco
  • resistance, domination, and hegemonic discourse: subaltern archives
  • the ‘national’, remnants and heritage
  • combined approaches in economics and social science: new techniques of the welfare state in Africa
  • student and graduate international mobility: trajectories, strategies and practices

Welfare management in Morocco

coordinators: Béatrice Hibou and Zakaria Kadiri

Theme: Starting from the theme of welfare management, the group aims to examine social issues without reducing the latter to welfare state institutions or bureaucratic forms of interference within society, and without pitting against the state or the political system in place. In keeping with a Weberian tradition, the group aims to grasp “social welfare” through daily relations and interactions, always in flux, with no prejudgment regarding the configurations of society. Our interest lies in the plural forms of welfare and the ways it can be governed, with these plural forms reflecting not only the historical background specific to each and every situation under study, but also the diversity of referents underpinning the conception of the state and the power relations existing between different social groups.

Religion, State, and Society

Coordinator: Mohamed Tozy

Theme: This group aims to extend research conducted in the sociology of religion in Morocco over the last 30 years. It aims to examine the institutional mechanisms set up as part of the “restructuring of religious affairs” that followed the Tetouan address of 2005 and the constitutional reform of 2011. The group also intends to produce monographs on religious brotherhoods active in Morocco, as well as research the training of religious clerics that traditionally pertained to the private sphere, notably in rural areas (Msid and traditional medersas), and has undergone several reforms in recent years. Such research work will look at both organisational and funding modes and training programs.

Social anthropology of relations between nature, culture and environment in Morocco

Coordinator: Dominique Guillo

Theme: This research group examines profound changes which affect interaction with nature in Morocco today; an original research angle to account for deep changes presently taking place across Moroccan society, given that so-called ‘natural’ phenomena are today caught up in many social and cultural mutations. This is the case with climate change and its effect on ecosystems, social, economic and cultural change which in turn affect farming and tourism, the emergence of the sustainable development issue and environmental considerations in public space, heritage-making through nature with the creation of natural parks (forest, animal species, fossils), the emergence of new components in the construction of national memory, changes in mental representations and the place of animals in rural as well urban areas, the growing interpenetration of “human” space and “natural” space (urban and rural), discourses and practices regarding pollution and its fallout, water management, interferences from discourse on the environment spreading across a globalised world, etc…

Resistance, domination, and hegemonic discourse: subaltern archives

Coordinator: Roberto Beneduce

Theme: This research group aims to contribute to the elaboration of archives which bring together documents, experiences, accounts, narratives that will be for the moment called “counter-memory”, albeit with a meaning different from the meaning given to the expression by Foucault and Lipsitz.

Our archives are not conceived only as already given material places, even though exploring them is inevitable. They are conceived of as places to be constructed, borrowing from the model proposed by Derrida, Farge or Combe who suggested, among other things, the necessity to imagine other archives: repressed, suppressed, forgotten archives. Accordingly, our research focuses on the memory and experiences of “subaltern” groups and individuals, whose voices, and lives, are subjected to wide-ranging procedures of control, oversight, and censorship.

The ‘national’, remnants and heritage

Coordinator: Irene Bono

Theme: For any researcher involved in the study of the contemporary era, the ‘national’ is an empirical problem, even if it is not chosen as a primary object of study. It is often articulated with other phenomena that are qualified as ‘national’ – such as national population, national territory, national culture, national market, etc – without explaining what is meant by this qualifier. In other words, the ‘national’ is most often used as if it were a self-evident notion.

The research group has set itself two objectives. First, it aims to promote and take part in a more extensive reflection on sources through which a deeper understanding of the ‘national’ can be achieved. The notion of ‘remnants’ which often refers to something that has passed or is difficult to access, seems in this regard pertinent to identify the different sources which may provide insight on phenomena that underpin the ‘national’ but that remain marginal in the entrenched ways the ‘national’ is considered. Second, the group intends to promote research into what is at stake in ‘belonging’, power configurations and processes in political subjectivation that can be highlighted when analysing the ‘national’ through its remnants and heritage.

Combined approaches in economics and social science: new welfare state techniques in Africa

Coordinators: Said Hanchane and Boris Samuel

Theme: This research group focuses on planning tools used in social policies and techniques to target specific population groups, especially the ‘poor’, as the recipients of such policies. These are currently high-stake issues for economic science and management, insofar as the transformation of the techniques of public action results in the redefinition of the state and the transformation of approaches to government.

Student and graduate international mobility: trajectories, strategies and practices

Coordinators: Grazia Scarfò and Kamal Mellakh

Theme: According to recent OECD data, student mobility generally follows the south-north route, going from the poorest to the wealthiest countries. Nevertheless, new schooling and social dynamics are emerging due to changes in migration in the north and south, reforms in educational systems, the internationalisation of study programs and the diversification of geographical destinations, the mutation in professional sectors, and the movement of elites.

The research group proposes to examine these trends and dynamics to further address three questions:

  • student mobility and internationalisation strategies: foreign degrees as assets
  • processes in the construction of professional markets: when foreign degrees become a criteria to self-define and exclude
  • international student mobility: studying in Eastern Europe from 1960 to the present