In the post-2011 euphoria, ‘Youth’ were taken to embody dynamism and positive change, often presented as a synonym for the ‘marginalized,’ the mistreated and repressed part of society most suffering from authoritarian rule. The expectation which followed is that after 2011 this marginalized ‘youth’ could finally release its energies and make its voice heard. But Tunisian youth continue to face many of the same challenges eight years on as before the revolt: high unemployment rates, economic exclusion, and political disillusion. Yet, the problems are not evenly distributed across the country. Regional divides have a greater descriptive and explanatory power than the generational divide tout court. What does this mean for the discourse of ‘youth’? This essay first examines the emergence of ‘youth’ as a hybrid social and political category in Tunisia, pointing to the ‘fluidity’ of such a concept, even in the official state-led discourse prior to and post 2011. It then accounts for regional disparities among youth in terms of ‘center-periphery’ dynamics, in particular providing insights from the governorate of Tataouine, traditionally one of the most marginalized regions in the country.

Missing Youth in Tunisia? Implications of Regional Disparities and Center-Periphery Divide

Giulia Cimini
2019

Abstract

In the post-2011 euphoria, ‘Youth’ were taken to embody dynamism and positive change, often presented as a synonym for the ‘marginalized,’ the mistreated and repressed part of society most suffering from authoritarian rule. The expectation which followed is that after 2011 this marginalized ‘youth’ could finally release its energies and make its voice heard. But Tunisian youth continue to face many of the same challenges eight years on as before the revolt: high unemployment rates, economic exclusion, and political disillusion. Yet, the problems are not evenly distributed across the country. Regional divides have a greater descriptive and explanatory power than the generational divide tout court. What does this mean for the discourse of ‘youth’? This essay first examines the emergence of ‘youth’ as a hybrid social and political category in Tunisia, pointing to the ‘fluidity’ of such a concept, even in the official state-led discourse prior to and post 2011. It then accounts for regional disparities among youth in terms of ‘center-periphery’ dynamics, in particular providing insights from the governorate of Tataouine, traditionally one of the most marginalized regions in the country.
Youth Politics in the Middle East and North Africa
20
25
Giulia Cimini
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/736522
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