The Politics of Dignity: Existential Movements in Post-Revolutionary Tunisia
|Dates:||13 November 2023|
|Times:||16:00 - 18:00|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Social Sciences|
Valentina Zagaria (University of Manchester): The Politics of Dignity: Existential Movements in Post-Revolutionary Tunisia.
This paper seeks to approach dignity (karama) ethnographically to propose a multi-layered understanding of the movements and politics that it continues to enliven in Tunisia, despite widespread sentiments of defeat with regards to the aspirations of the 2011 revolution. Dignity constitutes the central claim of the revolts known as the “Arab Uprisings”, as well as the drive for the harga – the undocumented crossing of the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa to Europe. It is a crucial and yet seldom defined political concept. Based on long-term fieldwork in the south-eastern Tunisian town of Zarzis, the paper delves into the expansive and exclusionary solidarities that emerged during a five-month protest movement in the town between September 2022 and February 2023, sparked by the disappearance of seventeen young people on their crossing to Italy. By exploring different inhabitants’ attempts to carve out better presents and futures for themselves through the harga, as well as moments of collective action against the violence of borders and the contempt of local, national, and foreign authorities, the paper anchors Mediterranean crossings in existential and shared struggles over dignity, whilst exploring both its emancipatory and reactionary potential.
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