Professions au Maghreb et au Proche-Orient

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La connaissance est devenue une composante essentielle du travail et des métiers contemporains. Savoir, travail et Société a pour but de faire connître à l'échelle internationale les recherches portant sur les formes de production et d'usage du savoir dans le monde professionnel. Ce numéro présente des contributions de spécialistes de la sociologie des professions, relatives au Liban, à l'Algérie, au Maroc, à l'Egypte et la Palestine.

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Date de parution 01 décembre 2008
Nombre de lectures 24
EAN13 9782296211216
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Professions au Maghreb
et au Proche-Orient

/

Professions in the Middle East
and North Africa

Couverture : Photo © Charles Gadea

Knowledge, Work & Society

/

Savoir, Travail et Société

Editor in ChiefDirecteur de la publication
Charles Gadea, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Laboratoire
Printemps, 47, Bd Vauban 78047 Guyancourt Cedex, E-mail : charles.gadea@uvsq.fr,
(Contributions in French)

Associate EditorsDirecteurs adjoints
Julia Evetts, School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham,
University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK. E-mail: julia.evetts@nottingham.ac.uk
Mike Saks, Vice Chancellor’s Office, University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, Lincoln,
LN6 7TS, UK.E-mail: msaks@lincoln.ac.uk(Contributions in English)

Book Review EditorResponsable des comptes rendus
Mike Saks, Vice Chancellor’s Office, University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, Lincoln,
LN6 7TS, UK.E-mail: msaks@lincoln.ac.uk

Editorial AssistantSecrétaire de la rédaction
Sophie Divay, Centre d’Economie de la Sorbonne, Equipe Matisse, 106-112 Bd de
l’Hôpital, 75013 Paris, E-mail : sophie.divay@wanadoo.fr

Editorial BoardComité éditorial
Steven Brint,University of California, USA ;Lise Demailly, Université de Lille,
France ;Claude Dubar, Université de Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France ;
Mirella Giannini,;University of Napoli, ItalyAndré Grelon, Ecole des Hautes
Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France; Ellen Kuhlmann,University of Bremen ;
Valery Mansurov, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia ;Vittorio Olgiati,
University of Urbino, Italy ;Elianne Riska, Äbo Akademi University, Finland ;
Arnaud Sales, Université de Montréal, Canada ;Rita Schepers, Katholieke
Universiteit Leuven, Belgium ;Lennart Svensson,Göteborg University, Sweden ;
Evan Willis, La Trobe University, Australia

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Knowledge, Work & Society/ Savoir,Travail et Société
Vol 5, n°1, 2008

Professions au Maghreb et au Proche-Orient
/
Professions in the Middle East and North Africa

Thematic issue edited by / Dossier thématique coordonné par
Elisabeth Longuenesse & Hocine Khelfaoui

Introduction
Elisabeth Longuenesse and Hocine Khelfaoui

State development policy and specialised engineers. The case of
urban planners in post-war Lebanon
Eric Verdeil

« Ingénieurs de recherche » en Algérie. Affirmation, professionnalité,
identité
Hocine Khelfaoui

Mutations du champ socioprofessionnel des ingénieurs marocains
Grazia Scarfo’ Ghellab

The Egyptian Judiciary: a profession unveiled by politics
Bernard Botiveau

p. 7

p. 27

p. 53

p. 81

p. 105

The Employability of Palestinian Professionals in Lebanon. Constraints
and Transgression
Sari Hanafi and Åge A. Tiltnesp. 127

Biographical notes / Notices biographiques

Book reviews / Comptes rendus d’ouvrages

p. 151

p. 155

Knowledge, Work & Society
Vol 5, n°1, 2008

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INTRODUCTION

7

Engineers, doctors and lawyers inArab countries, have been central
actors in social changes, as they were associated with development,
reconstruction and modernization projects. And yet, though they offer an
essential opening to understandingArab societies, we know little about
these professions and about the transformations that have affected them in
the last half-century. Some forerunning researches in English, published
in the 1970s and 1980s, mostly by historians and political scientists (Reid,
1981 andMoore 1980, arethe most well knownwhere Egyptis
concerned)were followed,starting inthe 1990s, byaseriesofresearches
in French (Longuenesse, 1990;Hanafi, 1997;Chiffoleau, 1997;
Khelfaoui,2000a;Gobe,2004). Itis striking however that the greatest
numberofstudiespertains to engineersand doctors. Onthe contrary,
exceptfora fewforerunningresearchesin Algeria (Colonna, 1975;
Bouzida, 1976;Haddab, 1979), otherintermediaryprofessions usually
considered lessprestigious(e.g. in education and inthe paramedical,
technical or social fields), areseldomstudied and insome casesare
ignored completely. Of course it would be necessary totake into account
workspublished in Arabicwhich areunfortunatelylittle known outside
theirown country(forEgypt, Al-Sayyid, 1983;Abu-l-As’ad, 1993;
Qandil, 1996).

Asan introductiontothis topic,we propose below some avenuesfor
reflection. First,there is the issue ofthe knowledge/workstructure and of
the place givento knowledge in “developing”societies. Wewillthen
broach onthe closelylinked issue ofwork andstatus whichsends usback
to “expertlabour” mobilization andthe conditionsof its
“professionalization”. The issue ofthe connectionwiththe State isalso
thatofrelationshipsbetween professional “elites” on one hand, and
political leadersonthe other, between fusion, collusion,

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instrumentalization orconflict. Finally,wewill
impactsof globalization on professional dynamics.

evokethe complex

Knowledge, work and developing project
Thestudyof professionsand of professionalwork isat the crossroad of a
reflection onthe place occupied by work in asocietyand onthestatusof
knowledge. Itquestions the evolution ofthe division ofwork andtheway
“societies structure expertlabour” (Abbott, 1988:323).

In “developing” (orconsidered as such) economies, labourmobilization
(informal ororganized,small-scale orindustrial) isoften allthe more
fragmented and diverse asit stemsfrom different social logics thatare not
wellstructured. Wewould gain bylooking more closelyat thesystemsof
values withrespect towork and employment which have beenstudied by
a fewauthors(El Kenz, 1986;Palmer, Leila, Yassine, 1988).
Leadersof newlyindependentcountriespretendthat theiractionsare
based onscience but, bydoingso,they tendto limit society’sproblems to
their scientific andtechnical dimension, andto equatethe political
process to an objectivesciencethatmaynot therefore be challenged. This
quasi-magicalrepresentation ofsciencereduces scientific practices to a
seriesof abstract rituals thatare disconnected from productive dynamics.
A diploma becomesan end in itself (Khelfaoui,2000b) andthe prestige of
qualified professionalsasheer“deception” (Hanafi, 1997: 86).

Institutionalizing professional knowledge asexpertknowledge isfrom
then onsubjectedtothe State project. Theresult, as was the case in “La
Syrie desingénieurs” [Engineers’ Syria] (Hanafi, 1997) orNasser’sEgypt
(Moore, 1980), is therapid obsolescence of engineers’ knowledge, a
persistingtechnological dependence andtheunendingrecourseto foreign
experts. Khelfaoui (2003) forAlgeria and Siino (2004) forTunisia have
demonstrated how the domination ofthe political field over thescientific
field, combinedwiththe latter’sdependence onthe internationalscientific
field (or thatofthe formercolonial power) precludedthe emergence of an
autonomousnationalscientific field. Itis worth notingthat this
subordination ofscience by the State isparticularly true forengineers’
knowledge butless so inthe case of doctors. Itis remarkablethatan
original medicalresearch existed in colonialtimesandthatitcontinues to
exist todayin a numberof “developing” countries(Waast, 1993;
Chiffoleau, 1997). The issue oftherelationship between knowledge and

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political poweriscomplexand itisalsothe nature of professional
practice itselfthatisat stake.

In anycase,subordination of holdersof professional knowledgetothe
State projectalsotranslatesintothe predominance of publicsector
employmentand intotypesof corporatistmobilization, coming at times
underclosestate control.

Graduates and professionals: employment and status
Freidson (2001) defines“professionalism” asone ofthree methodsfor
organizing and controllingwork, i.e. a practice combining knowledge and
skill –thetwo othersbeingthe marketandthe State. Buthis theoretical
model appears to be influenced by the institutionalization ofscholarly
professionsinthe Anglo-Saxonworld. Johnson (1994), onthe contrary,
thinks thatopposition betweenstate intervention and professional
autonomyprecludesa definition ofthe historical link betweenthe
developmentofthe State and professional development. Furthermore, in a
colonial context,the professions thatclaim autonomyfrom Government
athome (he is referringto Great-Britain) are in fact totallydependentof
the latterinthe colonies. The most striking factis that,when gainingtheir
independence, formercolonialstates willrepeat thismodel (Johnson,
1973).

Thesettingup of a modernstate and of an administration in charge ofthe
control and managementofthe country’s resourcesandthe development
of itsinfrastructuresandservicescallsfor the mobilization of increasing
numbersof qualified personnel. Fromthe Maghrebtothe Machrek,the
firstdecadesof independence are characterized byavery rapid increase in
publicsectoremployment(moreso in countries with a “socialist”
orientation), awidespread access toschooling andthe broadening of
highereducation. The needs withrespect tothe administration ofthe State
are importantanduniversitygraduatesare allthe more attractedto public
sectorcareersascivilservice becomes synonymousof powerand
modernity. Insome cases, occupations thataretraditionally the purview
ofthe professional orprivatesectors(doctors, architects, engineersor
accountants)seetheir statusdrastically transformed by the fact that the
State is taking charge of economicsectors that were,untilthen, controlled
byprivate companies, industries, hospitalsorbanks. In Algeria, almostall
doctorsbecome Health Departmentemployees;in Egyptorin Syria,
engineersin private practice are marginalized by the developmentof large

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governmental engineering firms. Thestatusofthese professionsisbeing
re-defined, as well as theirprofile, mission, jurisdiction and internal
structure (Abbott, 1988).

Of course,theregion isfarfrom being homogeneous: in Morocco and
Lebanon,state intervention inthe economyismore circumspect. But the
prestige of publicsectoremploymentisfar reaching. Consequently,
professions’ dynamicsare often dominated byastatus-dominated logic.
Suchsimilaritiesin contrastingsocio-political environments should help
exploring in more details the issue oftherelation between professional
status, knowledge developmentandtypesof “professionalization”.

Graduate professionals and political power
In Egypt,the firstprofessional organizations regrouping engineers,
doctorsand lawyersare instrumentalized bynationalistpartiesasearlyas
the 1940s, and itisnot surprisingthat, once in power,the latter tries to
mobilizethe formerfordevelopmentprojects. In Algeria,the few
engineers that weretrained duringthewarforindependence are among
the majorleadersofthe firstdevelopmentplans. With a fewexceptions,
thisorganicrelationship betweenthe keepersof modern knowledge and
newpower-holdersconcerns thewhole intelligentsia,which, asa
consequence, findsitextremelydifficult to be autonomousand preserve
itscapacityforcriticism asA. Zghal (1991) demonstrated inthe case of
Tunisia. The effortsexpended bypolitical power-holders tosubject
intellectuals totheirprojectsare, however, farfrom beingsystematically
crownedwithsuccess. Theresultdependson a numberof factors:the
dominationstrategy used,the capacityofthe concerned groups toresist to
it,theirhistoryand howlongthe organization hasbeen in existence.

Duringthe firstdecadesofthe Nasserera in Egypt, “professionalunions”,
some alreadypowerful and prestigious, are, on occasions, fierce
“battlefields”. Inthe 1950sand 1960s,two oppositerepresentationsof
Egyptiansocietyare competing, onethat, inthe name ofthestruggle
againstprivilegesandthe promotion of labourclasses, proposes to
disband professional organizationsbecausetheyare “bourgeois”, andthe
othercomingtothe defence of corporate functionalrepresentation in
which professions would have aroleto playas such (Longuenesse,2007).
Thoughthe Statesucceeded in puttingunderitscontrol all professional
organizationsand placing partymen at theirhead (Bianchi, 1989), it
could nevercompletely silence opposition, initiallyfromthe left, and later

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11

on fromthe Islamistmovement. Starting inthe 1980s,thislast trendwill
progressivelygain ground in a numberof professionalunions until an
administrativerestructuringthatledto atakeoverand a quasi-general
paralysis(Qandil, 1996;Wickam, 1997).

Though placedunder the control ofthe partyin power, all professional
organizationsin Algeria experienced internalstrife as soon as
Boumèdienne’sauthoritarianregime evolved into an “inertia force”
sustained byoilroyalties under the Chadli presidency. Whiletheunrest
that took overmostprofessional organizations starting inthe 1980shad,
insome cases, a definite political complexion (movementsled by
academics, journalists, lawyers…),unrestamong engineers was taking
placewithintheUnion des Ingénieurs Algériensandrevolved around
struggles, betweenvarious segmentsinthe profession,withrespect tothe
representativenessor the control ofthe organization. But, contrary to
Egypt,the empowermentof Algerian professional organizationscollided
moresowith political power strategies thanstrategiesdeveloped by the
Statewiththe latter, asa form ofsocial organization, being affected by
this tothesame extentas the professionals(Khelfaoui,2003).

Nowadays,with State “withdrawal” and “liberalization” policies,we
witnesscomplexand numerousdevelopments thatare at times
conflicting. Newprofessional associationsare created,the old onesare
the backdrop fornewfights, and bothwaverbetween overpoliticization
and, conversely,the fostering of arespectable apolitical
“professionalism”. However, justaseconomic liberalism isoften
combinedwith political authoritarianism, professionals’ demandscan
supportaradical political opposition as was the case of Egyptian judges
discussed belowbyBernard Botiveau.

The challengesfacingthe new rising classesof graduate professionalsare
alsotheresultofreorganizationsinthe labourmarket,rising
unemploymentandthe ensuing increasing disparities.

Market opening and transformation of professional logics
Withthe implementation of “structural adjustmentspolicies”towards the
end ofthe 1980s,the catchword becomesState decommitment,
synonymousof decreasing employmentinthe publicsector, privatization
andthe decline ofsocial policies. Whilethe numberof highereducation
graduatesisontherise, employmentopportunitiesare dramaticallyonthe

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decline. In mostcountries, at the beginning ofthe 1990s,these graduates
seetheirliving andworking conditionsdeteriorate andunemployment
becomesa problemthatisallthe moresensitivethata diploma had
always,untilthen, procured employment,statusand prestige.

Societiesare dragged into an infernal downspiral. Increased competition
onthe labourmarketleads to heightened competition among education
establishments, a diversification ofspecialization fields which isitself
exacerbated by the creation ormultiplication of private highereducation
institutions,some extremelylucrative,thatcontribute inreturnto
underminethe holdersof less well-rated degrees. While access to
Europeanuniversitiesisbecoming more and more difficult, agreements
betweenuniversitiesinthe “South” and inthe “North” intensify this trend
and contributeto increasingthe inequalitiesamong graduatesonthe
labourmarket. The Maghreb countries tendto maketheir university
system conformtothestandardsof leading nations therebybreakingthe
balance between local anduniversal dimensionsof professional
knowledge and aggravating inequalitydynamics.

Newformsof mobilityare appearing orare developing forbothstudents
and graduates. However, a degree isno longera guarantee andwhere it
wasobtained ismore and more a factorfordiscrimination (Geisser,
2000). Offshoring of companiesor servicesfromthe “North”tothe
“South” can, byall means,temporarilycreate jobs, but the chosen are few
andwe moresowitnessnew segmentationsand increasing differencesin
professionaltrajectories(Longuenesse,2005).

Butitisalsowork organizationthatevolvesin connectionwiththe
appearance of new specializations. New“professions” emerge both inthe
public and privatesectors,sometimesin a contradictoryorincomplete
fashion, aspartof complex special interestsgamesand professional
rivalries: Grazia Scarfo onthesubjectof Moroccan management
engineers’ newprofiles, Hocine Khelfaoui onthesubjectofresearch
engineersorÉric Verdeil onthesubjectof Lebaneseurban planners, offer
enlightening and evocative analysis thatare liableto nourish comparative
studieson professionalization methodsin differentenvironments.

The articles thatfollowcannot, byanymeans, be considered as the
portraitofthesituation inthe Arabworld asawhole, noras the current
state ofsociologicalresearchwhich, in anycase, is very uneven from one

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13

country to another. Looking at some ofthe professions(engineers,urban
planners, judges), each ofthese articlesbroach on a particularaspect,the
issue of graduate professionals’ position onthe labourmarket, how this
position isevolving,the connectionwith institutionsandthe State. One of
them hasa more global approach and deals with all graduate professions
in connectionwiththe particularcase of Palestiniansin Lebanon. Some
fall explicitly withinthescope of asociologyof professional groups,
othersmoresowithin asociologyof employment. Bygatheringthese
articles together, ourobjectivewas to demonstrate howa look
atNonWesternsocietiescan contributetosociologicalreflection.

Elisabeth Longuenesse
Laboratoire Printemps, CNRS
Université de VersaillesSaint-Quentin en Yvelines
E mail : elisabeth.longuenesse@uvsq.fr

Hocine Khelfaoui
Centre Interuniversitaire de Recherchesurla Science etla Technologie
Université duQuébec à Montréal
E mail : khelfaoui.hocine@uqam.ca

References
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Bianchi R. (1989)Unrulycorporatism: Associational Life in 20th century
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Bouzida A. (1976)L'idéologie de l'instituteur,Alger: SNED.
ChiffoleauS. (1997)Médecines et médecins en Egypte, Construction
d’une identité professionnelle et projet médical, Paris/Lyon :
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Colonna F. (1975)Instituteurs algériens, 1883-1939, Paris: Pressesde
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El KenzA. (1986)Le Complexe sidérurgique d’El Hadjar, une
expérience industrielle en Algérie, Paris: EditionsduCNRS.
Freidson E. (2001)Professionalism, The Third logic, On the practice of
knowledge, The Universityof Chicago Press.

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GeisserV. (dir.) (2000)môséiDlpd’ici et d’ailleurs, Paris: CNRS Ed.
Gobe E. (dir.) (2004)L’ingénieur moderne au Maghreb (XIXe-XXe
siècle),Tunis/Paris: IRMC/Maisonneuve etLarose.
Haddab M. (1979),Education et changements socioculturels. Les
moniteurs de l’enseignement élémentaire enérlgAie, Alger/Paris,
OPU/CNRS.
Hanafi S. (1997)La Syrie des ingénieurs, Paris: Karthala.
Johnson T. (1973) ‘Imperialism andthe professions’, in HalmosP. (ed.)
Professionalisation and social change, The Universityof Keele,281-309.
Johnson T. (1994) ‘The internationalisation of expertise’, in Y. Lucaset
C. Dubar(dir.)Genèse etDynamique des groupes professionnels, Lille:
PUL, 187-201.
Khelfaoui H. (2000a)Les ingénieurs dans le système éducatif : l’aventure
des instituts technologiques algériens, Paris: Publisud.
Khelfaoui H. (2000b) ‘Savoir,savoirdiplômé et représentations sociales
en Algérie’, in VincentGeisser(dir.)Diplômé sMaghrébins d'Ici et
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Khelfaoui H. (2003) ‘Le champuniversitaire algérien, entre pouvoirs
politiquesetchamp économique’, Actes de la recherche en sciences
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Longuenesse E. (dir.) (1990)Bâtisseurs et bureaucrates, Ingénieurs et
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Longuenesse E. (2005) ‘Ouverture desmarchésetmobilités
professionnellesdescadres’, in}JaberH. etMétral F. (dir.),Migrants et
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Sayyid M.K. (1983)Al-Mujtama'wa-l-siyâsa fî Misr, Dawr Jamâ'ât
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INTRODUCTION

17

Associésauxprojetsde développement, dereconstruction oude
modernisation, ingénieurs, médecins, juristesontété, danslespays
arabes, desacteurscentrauxduchangement social. Pourtant, alors
qu’elles représentent une entrée essentielle à la compréhension des
sociétésarabes, on connaîtpeude chose de cesprofessionsetdes
transformationsqui lesaffectentdepuis un demi-siècle. Quelques travaux
précurseursen anglais, danslesannées1970et1980, principalement
d’historiensetde politologues(pourl’Egypte, Reid, 1981 etMoore, 1980,
sontlesplusconnus) ontétésuivisà partirdesannées1990par unesérie
detravauxen français(Longuenesse, 1990 ;Hanafi, 1997 ;Chiffoleau,
1997 ;Khelfaoui,2000a;Gobe,2004). Il est toutefoisfrappantque les
travauxlesplusnombreuxportent surlesingénieursetlesmédecins. A
contrario, et si l’on excepte quelques travauxprécurseursen Algérie
(Colonna, 1975;Bouzida, 1976 ;Haddab, 1979), d’autresprofessions
généralistesouintermédiaires(enseignantes, paramédicales,techniques
ou sociales), entoutétatde cause moinsprestigieuses,sont sousétudiées
voire, pourcertaines, ignorées. Il faudraitbiensûrpouvoiraussirecenser
les travauxen langue arabe, malheureusementpeuconnusen dehorsde
leurpays(pourl’Egypte, parex. Al-Sayyid, 1983 ;Abu-l-As‘ad, 1993 ;
Qandil, 1996).

Pourintroduire ce dossier, nousproposonsci-dessousquelquespistesde
réflexion. C’estd’abord la question de l’articulationsavoir/travail etde la
place du savoirdansle contexte desociétésditesdé« enveloppement».
En lien étroitavec cette première question, nousaborderonscelle de
l’emploi etdu statut, quirenvoie auxmodalitésde la mobilisation des
compétences(expert labour) etauxconditionsde leur
« professionnalisation ». La question du rapportà l’Étatestaussi celle de
larelation entre « élites» professionnellesd’un côté, dirigeantspolitiques
de l’autre, entre fusion, collusion, instrumentalisation ouconflit. Nous

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évoqueronsenfin leseffets
dynamiquesprofessionnelles.

complexes

de

la

Savoir, Travail et Société

globalisation

sur

les

Savoirs, travail et projet de développement
L’étude desprofessionsetdu travail professionnels’inscritaucroisement
d’uneréflexionsurla place du travail et surlestatutdu savoir. Elle
interroge l’évolution de la division du travail etla manière dont« les
sociétés structurentla compétence » (Abbott, 1988 :323).

Dansleséconomies réputéesdé« enveloppement», lesformesde
mobilisation du travail, (informel ouorganisé, artisanal ouindustriel),
sont souventd’autantpluséclatéesetdiversesqu’elles relèventde
logiques socialesdifférentes, peuarticulées. Les systèmesdevaleurs
attachéesau travail ouà l’emploi, abordéesparquelquesauteurs(El
Kenz, 1986 ;Palmer, Leila, Yassine, 1988), mériteraient une attention
pluspoussée.

Lesdirigeantsdesnouveauxétatsindépendantsprétendentfonderleur
actionsurlascience, maisce faisant, ils tendentàréduire lesproblèmes
de lasociété à leurdimensionscientifique et technique, etla politique à
unescience objective, qui échappe parlà même àtoute contestation. Cette
représentation quasi magique de lascienceréduitlespratiques
scientifiquesàun ensemble derituelsabstraitsetdéconnectésde la
dynamique productive. Le diplôme devient une fin ensoi (Khelfaoui,
2000b) etle prestige desprofessionsdiplômées unevéritable
« imposture » (Hanafi, 1997: 86).

L’institutionnalisation du savoirprofessionnel entantquesavoirexpert
estdèslors soumise auprojetde l’État. Lerésultat, comme dansla
« Syrie desingénieurs» (Hanafi, 1997) oul’Egypte nassérienne (Moore,
1980), estl’obsolescencerapide du savoirde l’ingénieur,la persistance de
la dépendancetechnologique etlerecoursdurable auxexpertsétrangers.
Khelfaoui (2003) pourl’Algérie etSiino (2004) pourla Tunisie ontmis
en évidence la manière dontla domination duchamp politiquesurle
champscientifique, conjuguée à la dépendance de ce dernierà l’égard du
champscientifique international (oude l’ancienne puissance coloniale)
interdisaitl’émergence d’un champscientifique national autonome.
Notonsque cettesubordination de lascience aupouvoir, particulièrement
évidente pourlesavoirdesingénieurs, estmoins sensible pourles
médecins. Il est remarquable qu’unerecherche médicale originale ait