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Couples and families’ resilience in facing sociocultural changes: “Co-maternity” and “Oedipus in law” in the Tunisian transitional context


When a nation has experienced state violence and political exploitation, relationships in families and between couples are severely strained. Conditions permitting, a resilience process can occur. In fact, family psychoanalysis allows the discovery of different forms and modalities of resilience, which only a group is capable of. This paper explores the richness of an intersubjective psychoanalytic approach. It demonstrates its clinical application for Tunisian couples and families in a changing sociocultural revolutionary context. It identifies two transitional link configurations, designated “co-maternity” and “Oedipus-in-law”, illustrating a process of “negotiation” favorable for resilience and fluent intergenerational transmission, even if change comes with its conflicts.

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  1. The Personal Status Code (PSC) consists of a series of progressive Tunisian laws that were promulgated on August 13, 1956 by beylical decree and came into force on January 1, 1957. The PSC aimed to establish equality between men and women in many domains. Introduced almost five months after the country’s independence, it is one of the best-known acts of Prime Minister and future President Habib Bourguiba. It gave women an unprecedented place in Tunisian society and in the Arab World in general, abolishing polygamy, creating a judicial procedure for divorce, and authorizing marriage only with the mutual consent of both spouses. Bourguiba’s successor, Ben Ali, did not question the PSC and even made changes that strengthened the code.

  2. Eliin ma tiilech al hajeb.

  3. El asfour ma yzakkakchibouh.

  4. Divorce statistics from the National Institute of Statistics, Tunisia, found in an online article

  5. Dégage (get out) was the slogan taken up to depose the dictator and then generalized towards different state officials.


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Correspondence to Meriem Mokdad Zmitri.

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Mokdad Zmitri, M. Couples and families’ resilience in facing sociocultural changes: “Co-maternity” and “Oedipus in law” in the Tunisian transitional context. Psychoanal Cult Soc 28, 93–106 (2023).

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  • sociocultural mutation
  • couple and family resilience
  • Tunisian Revolution
  • co-maternity
  • Oedipus-in-law