When Mohamed-Salah Omri and I met in Cairo during the first week of December 2010, we discussed in some detail whether Tunisia would blow up–the suspected spark being the TuniLeaks depiction of Sakhr Materi’s opulence, another sign of the thorough corruption of the Ben Ali/Trabelsi crowd–and we thought it was time to critically engage in print what we took to be the emergent revolutionary intelligence we’d both been tracking for nearly a decade. Events overtook us, and when the January 2011 insurrection in Kasserine had clearly transformed into a national revolutionary movement, I proposed that what we must do immediately is gather up a selection of reflections from Tunisians engaged in the activities about the long-term significance of these events. The aim was for these accounts to be thoughtful considerations about what have been and are the immanent material conditions that have articulated the revolution, as well as a sense of the arch of those trends. What appears in this dossier are the fruits of that effort. Each of the pieces here is informed by an intense contest currently going on in the immediate post-insurrection phase between the traditional old-guard bourgeois elites and the emergent revolutionary elites over the meaning of the forces of social change and the modalities through which they are to be sustained or institutionalized. That contestation is fundamentally over the legitimacy of divergent, although related, intellectual formations or structures of knowledge.

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