The Arab Political Science Network (APSN) in collaboration with the South Mediterranean University (SMU) in Tunisia are pleased to announce a call for applications for a workshop titled Tunisia's Political Transformation: Current Challenges and Future Perspectives. The workshop is aimed at PhD students, faculty members and researchers in political and social sciences. The first part of the program will take place virtually via Zoom on July 20-21, 2022, with a follow-up hybrid workshop scheduled for the Fall and hosted by SMU.
The events since July 25th, 2021, provide academics and analysts with an opportunity to assess both the past decade of Tunisia's post-Ben Ali era as well as the future political, economic and social transformations ushered by Kais Saied’s decisions. On one hand, the myriad struggles waged by activists, social movements, unions, and opposition parties in the name of democratic revolution created expectations for democratization revolving around a rights-based discourse. On the other, insidious forms of elite pacting and rife corruption indicate an all but superficial acceptance of democratic principles among the political and economic elites, with the reactionary rise in populism seemingly a testament to the failure of party politics altogether.
Workshop Themes and Questions
The current crisis begs several critical questions about the theoretical frameworks and analytical approaches used to depict and predict politics during critical junctures. What are the limitations of the frameworks that “fit” cases into the democratic/autocratic binaries and what alternatives outside of mainstream political science might better inform post-July 25th politics? What are the legal, institutional, and informal politics that contribute to our understanding of the "success" or "failure" of the Tunisian transformation to date? What is the role of Tunisian civil society, class dynamics, the political-economic structures, Arab autocracies and the international community in contributing to Tunisia's current predicament? How should we assess the rise of populism--whether as a new form of Tunisian politics, a legacy of authoritarianism, or as part of a global trend? Methodologically, what are new and innovative methods to capture political change?
Scholars working on one of the above themes or questions are encouraged to apply, especially those who are based in the Arab world. The selected applicants are expected to participate in at least the first workshop with the second workshop being designated to refine papers for possible publication. To apply please fill in the information required in this online form
All applicants should submit an updated resume and a 500-word proposal in English or Arabic summarizing the content of the paper and highlighting the research and methodological questions. The deadline for applications is May 26, 2022. Applicants will be notified in early June, and full papers (between 3000-5000 words) are expected on July 10th to facilitate feedback and engagement among participants.