Self-Identity and Others in Tunisian Textbooks
This chapter examines the attitude to the Self and the Other, and the interaction between them within the overall Tunisian national identity as reflected in Tunisian textbooks. The basis for this study has been provided by 64 textbooks of various subjects for grades 1–13, nearly all published in 2007, that is, more than 3 years before the popular uprising and change in Tunisia’s regime in late 2010. The books were examined within a larger research operation done mostly by the author during the years 2000–2010, analysing the attitude to the Other and to peace in nearly 1500 textbooks of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran, besides Tunisia itself, which provided a broad basis for comparison between the various curricula in this respect. The main thesis of this chapter is that the pre-revolutionary Tunisian textbooks (as well as their post-revolutionary counterparts up to the 2013/2014 school year) have adopted a special attitude to the Other not encountered in other Middle Eastern textbooks, including those of Israel. In order to substantiate this thesis, limited references to non-Tunisian textbooks will be made here by way of comparison only, as the present chapter does not claim to discuss other curricula specifically.
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