Fieldnotes from Bhar Lazreg: Research Methods from the Margins of Tunis

Shreya Parikh, an alumna of IFG V on Identities and Beliefs, has organized the publication of an essay series on Jadaliyya, introduced by an essay written by Parikh herself. The series showcases field observations made by student ethnographers at the École Nationale d’Architecture et d’Urbanisme (ENAU, National School of Architecture and Urbanism) in Sidi Bou Said, in the context of a methods workshop led by Parikh and Professor Cyrine Bouajila in March and April 2022.

The essays reflect the students’ ethnographic encounter with the fieldsite of Bhar Lazreg, an urban neighborhood located in close proximity to La Marsa (a desirable Northern suburb of Tunis), but which is commonly coded in contrast as “dangerous,” “disordered,” and inhabited by Sub-Saharan migrants (and therefore racially black). Seeking to overcome such negative and stigmatizing associations, the students approached Bhar Lazreg and its inhabitants as producers of knowledge in their own right. Setting forth without imposing a strict set of research questions from the outset, the resulting essays not only provide the reader insight on the lifeworlds of Bhar Lazreg, but they offer an honest glimpse of the ethnographic affects (of timidness, doubt, uncertainty) that researchers commonly experience in the early stages of field research, but rarely discuss.

For more information and to read the essays online.

The Post-Arab Spring Social Contract in Tunisia: Social Actors’ Comparative Gains and Losses

Dr. Mohamed Ismail Sabry is alumni of the IFG IV Resources and Sustainability and published the working paper “The Post-Arab Spring Social Contract in Tunisia: Social Actors’ Comparative Gains and Losses”, which was presented at the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS) in August 2022.

This paper is investigating what are the comparative gains/losses of the different considered social actors in Tunisia from the new post-2011 Social Contract (SC)? The SC is perceived as a product of the prevailing state-society relations and power relations between the main actors in the Tunisian industrial sector. These actors are identified as: the state, big businesspersons (tycoons), businesspeople of small and medium enterprises (entrepreneurs), and labor. The comparative gains/losses of these actors are investigated in terms of two broad contested policy fields: competition and social protection to workers.

For more information and to download the paper.

Eine neue Verfassung für Tunesien? Es droht ein autoritärer Drift!

Dr. Julius Dihstelhoff/Mounir Mrad, Eine neue Verfassung für Tunesien? Es droht ein autoritärer Drift!, F.A.Z. Einspruch, 18.07.2022.

This article analyses the draft constitution submitted by the President of the Tunisian Republic Kais Said to a referendum on 25 July 2022 with a focus on the separation of powers, rights and freedoms and the role of religion. Furthermore, the article compares the draft constitution with the vision promoted by Kais Said before his ascension to power, to determine the differences with this vision. The article concludes that the new constitution, which came into force on 25 July 2022, establishes a new political model for Tunisia that lays the framework for a return to an authoritarian presidential system. Although the constitution is presented as a panacea for all the country’s serious problems, this constitutional re-foundation of the state would not be sufficient to solve the country’s multiple crises. F.A.Z also spoke to Dr. Julius Dihstelhoff in its “Einspruch-podcast”.

F.A.Z. Einspruch is the daily offer of the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung for lawyers and all those who are interested in topics concerning law and legislation. At the interface of specialist journal and news medium, F.A.Z. Einspruch focuses in terms of content on selected reports, commentaries and analyses from the world of F.A.Z. on current legal and tax topics, written by F.A.Z. editors and renowned columnists with legal expertise.



Destination North Africa Syrians’ displacement trajectories to Tunisia

Entanglements of the Maghreb: Cultural and Political Aspects of a Region in Motion

Julius Dihstelhoff/Charlotte Pardey/Rachid Ouaissa/FriederikePannewick (ed.), Entanglements of the Maghreb: Cultural and Political Aspects of a Region in Motion, Bielefeld: transcript, 2021.

The impulse for the recent transformations in the Arab world came from the Maghreb. Research on the region has been on the rise since, yet much remains to be done when it comes to interdisciplinary comparative research. The Maghreb is a heterogeneous region that deserves thorough investigation. This volume focuses on Entanglements as a cross-field and cross-lingual concept to generate a new approach to the region and its inner interdependencies as well as exchanges with other regions. Eminent researchers conceptualize Entanglements through the description of various thematic fields and actors in motion, addressing culture, politics, social affairs and economics.

Full book (open access)

Book Review on TRAFO – Blog for Transregional Research, 02.11.2021 [English version | French version].