Limited Statehood and Contentious Politics

  • Ruth Hanau Santini
Part of the Reform and Transition in the Mediterranean book series (RTM)


Contentious action in Tunisia pre-dates 2010–2011 and did not stop with the uprisings and overthrow of the regime of Ben Ali in January 2011. Protests have proceeded in waves and have reshaped notions of legitimacy, state-society equilibria, and relations between the center and periphery. This chapter investigates how these dynamics have arisen and evolved since 2011. It focuses in particular on the two most significant moments of contentious collective action, in 2010–2011 and since 2016. While the 2010–2011 uprising was a leaderless wave, which succeeded in generating powerful discursive narratives—later generalized and which acted as vessels for mobilization across several sectors of society and across several regions within the country—a similar attempt was only partially successful in 2016–2017, when protests remained contentious outbursts, more geographically clustered, despite their reverberations in the capital, and failed to evolve into national movements.


Contentious politics Regional disparities Neoliberalism Tunisia 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth Hanau Santini
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Naples - L’OrientaleNaplesItaly

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