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[Online] GGS Teaching Assistantship Programme: The Crisis of Hegemony in the Middle East and North Africa after the Arab Spring: The Tunisian Political System’s Crisis as a Case Study - Nourhan Kassem

Wann 02.06.2021
von 14:00 bis 16:00
Wo Online: Cisco WebEx
Teilnehmer Feel free to join the lecture and workshop series of the Teaching Assistantship Programme 2021
Register via email to
Termin übernehmen vCal

The Arab Spring articulated the deep crisis that the post-colonial Arab countries endure. It rendered the understanding of crisis as a process rather than an emergent event.

This lecture answers the question: Was the Arab Spring a moment of expression of a long crisis or just an expression of emergent one? Colonial legacies, the Cold War and disadvantageous insertion into the global economic system created dysfunctional emergent states and contradictions that continued into the Arab Spring revolutions. With this backdrop, the crisis that Tunisia witnessed after the outbreak of the uprisings was an episode of a long crisis that extended from the reign of the first Tunisian president, Habib Bourguiba, and which has exemplified itself clearly in the paralyzed political process after Jasmine Revolution in 2010/11. 

By the same token and to catch the current connotation of the concept of crisis, I am going to raise the following conceptual question: what does the concept of “Crisis” mean? I believe that it is feasible to start with brief recounting of the development of the concept of crisis through skimming the different notions it got along the history of its usage.

Then I move to answer the question:  Which concept suits the case study? I utilize Gramsci's concept of "organic crisis" to explain the dysfunction of the Tunisian political system. Such dysfunction started with the post-colonial state under Bourguiba and continued with Ben Ali’s regime. The causes of the outbreak of 2010-2011 upheavals are in the contradictions of the Tunisian political system rather than just attributed to the rule of Ben Ali. I aim to provide an interpretive framework for understanding the Tunisian uprising as the continuation of a long period of crisis and as an interregnum where the old dies and the new is yet to be born as Gramsci elaborated.


Key words:  Crisis, Hegemony, Organic crisis, Bourguibism, Depoliticization, Arab-Spring.

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