This article relies on the terms employed by Ivan Pavlov in his classical conditioning experiment. The first stimulus used by Pavlov is a biological one, and it is represented by food. While food produces an immediate response in the form of salivation, a neutral stimulus—the bell—does not initially produce any reaction in the dog. During the conditioning process, Pavlov associates the bell with the food and the dog begins to salivate. Consequently, we notice that the bell transitions from a neutral stimulus to a conditioned stimulus that causes the desired reaction in the dog. Following the same approach, the political leaders of postcolonial Algeria use Literary Arabic and Islamic values as conditioned stimuli (the bell) in an effort to convince the young generation that they will receive the food (the good citizen status) when they are embracing the values they promote. In Maïssa Bey's Bleu blanc vert (2006), we observe that the conditioning process in independent Algeria happens in classrooms used as experimental spaces. I argue that through repetition the new political leaders aim to reshape young minds and erase old French values that no longer fit their narrative.


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pp. 395-406
Launched on MUSE
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