University of Tunis
the international congress

The decade of mutations in Tunisia (2010 – 2020):

Think the Societal dynamics in Tunisia

(10 & 11 April 2020)

During the decade 2010 – 2019, Tunisian people went through a Tornado of events that ends with the elections of 2019. The process of changes that started since December, 2010, went through several steps. Some were peaceful, others more or less violent.  The passage from the first republic to the second one, that replaced the presidential regime by a mixed presidential regime establishing a balance between the three powers, has put an end to one-party system and opened the way to multiparty-system. Equally, the citizens’ involvement in the political life through free and transparent elections has been consecrated. The 2014 Constitution, has endorsed all the reforms related to this process and has created new institutions. Such were the most significant political changes of this particular period of accelerated events and happenings. Certain dates will be milestones forever, such as December, 10, 2010, January, 14, 2011, April, 9, June, 12 and December, 4, 2012, February, 6 and July, 25, 2013, and finally, September – October, 2019.

All these events have awakened a significant creativity potential and inspired Tunisian artists. Plasticians, filmakers, playwrights, musicians expressed themselves, each in his domain, sharing their emotions and their visions in songs, plays, movies, documentaries, graffitis, and Street Art. In 2012, this momentum was disturbed by attacks perpetrated against a movie room in Tunis, and an exhibition in a suburb. That shows to what extent the situation was fragile, 18 months after the fall of the Ancient Regime. At the end of this decade, an assessment, and an academic approach is proved to be necessary, in order to question the manifold achieved projects and works since 2011.

It is important to notice that the idea of freedom took hold, first in the field of arts. The decade will be pervaded by the idea of freedom that will slowly and painfully settle. It will be extolled  or practiced by the artists, each according to his or her aesthetic or ethic values. Whether it is individual or collective, this idea is omnipresent in all artistic discourses.

In short, four elections, with heavy consequences, marked out these last eight years, and form true trainings for democracy; in 2011, 2014, 2018, and 2019. The outcomes of these polls have more or less surprised, astonished, win over or left indifferent Tunisians, according to their convictions and/or their political affiliations. The 2014 elections had showed the civil society vitality which had made possible a reversal of trend at the expense of the parties.

Beyond the reactions and discourses of journalists, chroniclers, citizens and politicians, the society has the right to understand what just happened in this phase of the socio-political process that has brought a new president to Carthage palace.  The society has too the right to understand the dynamics and the issues that have opened the doors of the parliement to representatives, some known and some less known.

Fallowing the last polls some say that the results were predictable and significant. Others were surprised and finally some others were totally shocked. This spectrum of reaction is undoubtedly the image of the socio cultural diversity of the Tunisian society.

The people have it always reason? Poeples’ choices are they necessarily the best ones ? In fact, it is from these two questions that has germinated the idea of organizing a scientific meeting. On the 13th October, 2019, Tunisian people voted overwhelmingly the new president giving him  ¾  of the votes. More significant yet, the new president got 90% of the youth votes.

How on earth this outsider, new comer to the politics in 2011, was propelled by the media, especially on questions related to the constitution? How a candidate with neither a party  nor a parliamentary group, nor a well defined  electoral programme  can access to the supreme magistracy? Through a timid compain, emphasis was put « the honest man strong born from the revolution guarantor of the changes » with as the motto «  A New Stage of the Revolution is Necessary”.

Gripping to the citizen role of the Higher education, conscient of its national vocation, as the place of thinking for sixty years, well rooted in the dynamic, structural, connections between the nation, the state and the society, the University intends to have had the researchers think about the new societal challenges that Tunisia is undergoing, and that this aim would be achieved by organizing an international multidisciplinary conference. This conference will give room to question oneself on what could be considered as a turning point, in order to give a helping hand in understanding the ins and outs of the legislative and presidential elections and of the whole tricky transitional process the country is going through since 2010.

Researchers in literature, language, human and social sciences, and arts who have a privileged status in Tunis University are expected to bring, on the basis of a scientific methodology, part of the answer in order to disentangle the web of phenomena and factors that has marked the decade 2010 – 2020.

In order to cope with the disillusionment of some people, the disappointment of youngsters or enthusiasm and optimism of others, pluridisciplinarity is an undodgeable choice. The reason is that each discipline or discourse, is moving in what  Michel Foucault called « a truth regime ». So we hope that the diversity of approaches will contribute to a better understanding.

This conference will be held 10 & 11 April, 2020 and will be the occasion to address the following themes:

– The historical context, since 2009

– 2010 The socio- economic crisis paroxysm, “a fertile revolutionary ground”

­- experiencing freedom since 2010

-Social dynamics: classes, casts and categories involved, benificiaries or threatened / pauperization of middle classes/ demographic structure

– Role and weight of the civil society

– depressed (underprivileged) regions in Tunisia before and after 2011.

– the phenomenon of legal emigration (brain drain) and of clandestine one (jobless youngsters)

  • media, means of mediation between the politician and the society or the stakeholders?
  • – social networks: an instrument of mobilization or manipulation?
  • polling agencies and public opinion
  • Explosion in the number of politic parties (of masses, of senior officers, executives etc…)
  • Political and ideological discourses/aptitude to dialogue or stalemate monologue?
  • Crisis of the traditional values systems and the advent of new values.
  • Security and insecurity, surge of violence and crime, permanence of terrorist threat .
  • The ballot boxes a neutral electoral means?/ Significance and symbol of the voting act/How to choose the candidates?
  • The revolution in literature and arts.


In order to allow the edition of the conference’s acts in a book that will mark a milestone, the drafts of papers should be sent no later than the 31 january 2020, and the final version at the end of June, 2020.

Scientific committee

Lotfi Aïssa, Hayet Amamou, Samir Becha, Amor Belhédi, Hichem Ben Aïssa, Sami Ben Ameur, Slah Ben Fraj, Mourad Ben Jelloul, Riadh Ben Rejeb, Imène Ben Youssef, Jamil Chaker, Ridha Chenoufi, Mouldi Gassoumi, Ahmed Khouaja, Mokhtar Kraïem, Saoussen Krichen, Salah Mosbah, Malika Ouelbani, Abdessattar Sahbani, Hédi Timoumi, Mustapha Tlili.

This committee is chaired by the President of the University, Prof. Habib Sidhom.