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Old Civil Society Networks and their Role for the Tunisian Political Landscape

In: Middle East Law and Governance
Author:
Jan-Erik Refle UNIL, SSP, IEP, Géopolis 4320, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

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Abstract

Civil society is generally seen as the safeguard of Tunisian democratization, but how do networks in Tunisian civil society manifest? Which are the important actors and how do they interact? The paper takes a network perspective as used in social movement studies to analyze the networks and their influence on the Tunisian political landscape by comparing four ‘old’ civil society organizations. In taking the network perspective, a coalition can be observed and the positions within the coalition are unevenly distributed among actors. What is particularly striking is the minimal interaction with newer civil society organizations mainly due to a lack of confidence. A generational divide is found in Tunisian civil society, which not only concerns personal age, but also organizational age that often equates to reputation and resources.

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