CAIS Public Lecture "Crisis of Democratization: Tunisia's Ongoing Transition"
This lecture traces the trajectory of Tunisia's crisis of democratization and the current political impasse since President Kais Saied's consolidation of power in July 2021. An almost exclusive focus on institution-building in the decade after the 2011 revolution served to undermine the country's very democratic gains. Socio-economic deprivation and marginalization were left to pile up, feeding the populist frenzy that catapulted the President to election victory in 2019. Through the frame of 'democratic learning' among civil society, protestors, politicians, and political parties, the lecture then ponders the prospects for democratic restoration.
Larbi Sadiki is Professor of Arab Democratization at Qatar University. A graduate of ANU's Politics and International Relations program (PhD: 1997) and taught at this very Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, as well as the University of Exeter in the UK. His books include The Search for Arab Democracy: Discourses and Counter-Discourses (Columbia University Press, 2004), Rethinking Arab Democratization: Elections without Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2009), and Routledge Handbook of Middle East Politics: Interdisciplinary Inscriptions (Editor, 2020). He was Lead Principal Investigator in the four-year project titled “Transitions of Islam and Democracy: Engendering ‘Democratic Learning’ and Civic Identities," a Qatar National Research Fund Grant. Editor of the Routledge Series on Middle Eastern Democratization and Government and the new Brill journal Protest. He is also founder of a new Tunis-based research and advocacy NGO, Tunisia Demos: Democratic Sustainability Research Center. Completing under and OUP contract a co-authored book on Tunisia’s revolution.