De-marginalisation in the Wake of the 2011 Arab Uprisings: Democratic and Islamist Narratives in Tunisia and the Prospects for Euro-Mediterranean Relations

dc.contributor.advisorCalleya, Stephen C.
dc.contributor.authorFarrugia, Massimo R.
dc.creatorFarrugia, Massimo R.
dc.description.abstractThe 2011 “Arab Spring” which started in Tunisia and spread to the rest of North Africa and the Arab Middle East has opened a potentially democratic space, triggering what this work calls the process of ‘de-marginalisation’. In the wake of the historic uprisings formerly marginalised groups – unemployed youths, women, students, workers and Islamists – find themselves negotiating their fate in the new space which has opened up. Embarking on a fieldwork research in Tunisia, this thesis employs a nuanced theory of culture to unpack emerging narratives. It does so by decoding four salient symbols and metaphors which strike a chord in Tunisians: Habib Bourguiba, the Constitution, the ‘Sixth Caliphate’ and the Personal Status Code. Through a textual analysis, this work uncovers how solidarity, exclusion, humanisation, dehumanisation, tolerance and justice function in Tunisian society. The conflicts surrounding these symbols articulate citizens’ demands for a profound democratic sharing of the civil space amid fresh fears about a looming radicalisation of society. By examining how the 2011 events have challenged analytical assumptions on a “backward” culture in the region this thesis identifies the articulation of such ideas in European Union policy towards its southern neighbourhood, namely the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and the European Neighbourhood Policy. Denouncing the EU’s tacit support to the fallen regimes, the ethos of demarginalisation calls for EU policy which supports political reform through solidarity and rapprochement. In practice, the democratisation process in Tunisia needs buttressing through financial aid coupled with conditionality so that Tunisia may sustain its democratising momentum.
dc.subjectArab uprisings
dc.subjectDemocratic narratives
dc.subjectCultural symbols
dc.titleDe-marginalisation in the Wake of the 2011 Arab Uprisings: Democratic and Islamist Narratives in Tunisia and the Prospects for Euro-Mediterranean Relations
dc.typeThesis Analysis and Resolution Resolution and Mediterranean Security Mason University of Malta's of Science in Conflict Analysis and Resolution of Arts in Conflict Resolution and Mediterranean Security


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