Postcolonial Tunisia has gone through substantial transformations of its legal and socio-economic structures. Habib Bourguiba began the work of social and juridical engineering aimed to make the independent state a modern country, contributing to profound changes in family structures. In this article, I intend to investigate the family life of two women and two men with whom I established friendships during the fieldwork I carried out in Tunisia between 2013 and 2014. Examining the relationships of my interlocutors with their family members, I will depict an ethnographic portrait of a few Tunisian families. While they are not representative of Tunisian society, they nevertheless allow insight into a specific sector of it and help understand the effects of the revolution of 2011 on family structures.
Two Women and Two Men in a Changing Time
This article presents an analysis of the evolution of ethnographic museums in Tunisia, tracing their development from the period of French colonial rule until the present. It documents and interprets the trajectory of museography in the country over nearly a century, demonstrating changes and continuities in role, setting and architecture across shifting ideological landscapes, from the colonial, to the postcolonial to the more recent revolutionary setting. It is argued that Tunisian ethnographic museums, both in their processes of conception behind the scenes and in their scenography itself, have been key sites in which to read debates about national identity. The article excavates the evolution of paradigms in which Tunisian popular identity has been expressed through the ethnographic museum, from the modernist notion of 'indigenous authenticity' to efforts at nation-building after independence, and more recent conceptions of cultural diversity. Based on a combination of archival research, participant observation and interviews with past and present protagonists in the Tunisian museum field, this research brings to light new material on an understudied area.
Shakespeare's Part in Question
Last March, a well-known Tunisian critic wondered about the motivations that had led Mohamed Driss, the head of the Tunisian National Theatre and one of the greatest directors in the country, to direct a Shakespeare play: What is today the purpose of reproducing a Shakespearean tragedy, when all over the world directors are desperately searching for new creative ways, new means for attracting a public who is more and more disinterested by the theatre?
Corinna Mullin and Ian Patel
Th is article discusses the politics of “transition” in Tunisia and locates Tunisia’s post-uprising justice initiatives within existing critical literature on global liberal governance and transitional justice. Methodologically, it treats transitional justice as a site of contestation, involving the exercise of domestic and transnational strategies of power as well as the oft en subversive agency of former and ongoing victims of state crime. By examining noninstitutionalized forms of contestation, this article seeks to understand and contextualize the fears expressed by some victims that the formal transitional justice process may be a diversion from, rather than bridge to, revolutionary aims.
Reflections on the Arab Revolutions
This article makes a first attempt at outlining the place of the ongoing arab revolution in modern history, with special attention to its significance to mobility studies. taking issue with readings that emphasize the roots of the revolt in islam or the arab world, it stresses the economic background of the grievance, and specifically the elusive hope for social mobility in the countries' youth. it also highlights the crucial role of networking activities, both face-to- face and online, in creating the momentum that led to toppling of powerful regimes in Egypt and tunisia. The article seeks to demonstrate how mobility studies can highlight the peculiar challenges that both countries are currently facing. By way of conclusion, it shows how the case at hand forces us to think more about the mind of mobility, and more broadly about the ambitions and theoretical promises that the field of mobility studies should embrace.
Religion and Revolution
Mark Juergensmeyer, Sidharthan Maunaguru, Jonathan Spencer and Charles Lindholm
For some decades, the religious rebellion of the late-twentieth and early-twenty-first centuries was characterized by political violence, terrorism, and strident rhetoric. Then in 2011, the events collectively known as Arab Spring seemed to offer a new model: mass movements leading to democratic reform and electoral change. The elections of 2012 swept religious parties and leadership into office in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya. Is this the face of the future of religious rebellion around the world?
Osvaldo Croci and Marco Valigi
The uprising against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was part of the “Arab
Spring,” a wave of demonstrations that began at the end of 2010 and
led, in a short space of time, to the fall of regimes in Tunisia and
Egypt; uprisings in Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain; and street protests in a
number of other Arab countries. Following the collapse of the ruling
administrations in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt on 14 January and 11
February, respectively, street protests against Gaddafi began in Libya.
The violent reaction of the Libyan regime led to uprisings throughout
the country. On 27 February, anti-Gaddafi forces established a provisional
government, known as the National Transitional Council (NTC),
in Benghazi. The ensuing civil war resulted in the intervention of a
NATO-led coalition to enforce United Nations (UN) Security Council
Resolution 1973, which provided for the establishment of a no-fly zone
to protect civilians. From their stronghold in eastern Libya, the anti-
Gaddafi forces, aided by NATO air cover and air strikes, slowly took
control of the rest of the country. They captured Tripoli on 28 August
and then moved against the remaining pro-Gaddafi forces in northeastern
Libya. Gaddafi’s last stand in his hometown of Sirte ended on 20
October, when he was captured and killed.
This article looks back at the 2011 Arab Spring where the movements that brought hope to the region and beyond seem to have gone astray. The military has taken over in Egypt, while Libya, Syria and Yemen have descended into civil strife with tremendous human costs. Bahrain has witnessed repression that has overwhelmed the opposition, and while Tunisia, the country where Arab Spring began, has avoided the violence characterizing the aforementioned states, change has remained rather limited. As for other countries that rode on the same wave of mobilizations, hopes for democratic transformation have been subdued in somewhat less violent contexts but with varying degrees of pressure from the state. This article examines what has happened to the Arab Spring countries, why and what is required to democratically transform the region.
Revisiting 'the margins' as an illuminating conceptual space analogous to, yet distinct from, the exception, this article explores the Arab Spring from its margins to highlight 'silencing effects' that, if they underpin the problematic notions of the Arab Spring and Arab exceptionalism, assume spectacular dimensions at the margins, namely, the 'disappearance' of an uprising. The disputed territory of Western Sahara, partially annexed by Morocco since 1975, saw an unprecedented uprising in October-November 2010. Annexed Western Sahara's uprising narrowly preceded Tunisia's, conventionally recognized as the first of the Arab Spring. Despite Sahrawis' perceptions of similarities between their uprising and the Arab Spring, Western Sahara's uprising is overlooked in most analyses of the Arab Spring. 'Silencing effects' obscure these similarities and, ultimately, the uprising itself.
In this article I explore the concept of the rebellious girl by examining the cases of three different girls: an HIV activist in South Africa; a young feminist in Finland; and a topless on-line protester in post-revolution Tunisia. Although their contexts and messages vary greatly, there are marked similarities between and amongst them. I suggest that, in general, the media, political movements, and research agendas often appear to have difficulty taking girls' protests seriously. The rebellious girl is ridiculed, shunned, shamed, and disciplined. The protests explored here can, however, be read as important visual interruptions that attempt to invoke an epistemic mutiny that does not beg for inclusion on preexisting terms but, rather, challenges the boundaries of acceptable bodily integrity. They also gesture towards the social in a way that demands recognition, acceptance, and support, not a simplified acceptance based on the notion of neoliberal individual freedom.