SOAS University of London

London Middle East Institute

Book Launch - Contested Politics in Tunisia: Civil Society in a Post-Authoritarian State

IMG - Edwige Fortier Book Cover
Dr Edwige Fortier (Research Associate, Department of Development Studies, SOAS)

Date: 19 November 2019Time: 5:30 PM

Finishes: 19 November 2019Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Khalili Lecture Theatre (KLT)

Type of Event: Book Launch


Several thousand new civil society organisations were legally established in Tunisia following the 2010–11 uprising that forced the long-serving dictator, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, from office. These organisations had different visions for a new Tunisia, and divisive issues such as the status of women, homosexuality, and human rights became highly contested. For some actors, the transition from authoritarian rule allowed them to have a strong voice that was previously muted under the former regimes. For others, the conflicts that emerged between the different groups brought new repressions and exclusions – this time not from the regime, but from 'civil society'. Vulnerable populations and the organisations working with them soon found themselves operating on uncertain terrain, where providing support to marginalised and routinely criminalised communities brought unexpected challenges. Edwige Fortier will discuss this remarkable period of transformation and the effects of opening up public space in this way.


Edwige Fortier is a Research Associate in the Department of Development Studies, SOAS, University of London. Formerly a Civil Society Advisor with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, she has worked for more than twenty years as a development practitioner to strengthen the involvement, care and support of vulnerable communities affected by HIV/AIDS.

Chair: Gilbert Achcar (SOAS)

Organiser: SOAS Middle East Institute

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