We cannot yet know what the outcome will be of the Tunisian Revolution. Its beginning, on December 17, 2010, with Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation, gave birth to a genuine process of jumps, jerks, pauses, stops, starts, restarts, and waves of highs and lows. The resulting dialectic of conflict and appeasement highlights this as a process of making, unmaking, and remaking that is being driven by an intense ongoing struggle between emergent social forces and established political formations. We indeed find ourselves in the midst of “events and practices” warranting apprehension as significant expressions in the “constructive work of bold sociological analysis.” There is a fairly high risk that what we experience will be lost forever to a forgetfulness that is hopelessly closed off from the flow of life. The objective in this essay is to offer a preliminary provisional account of what has transpired during the initial phase of the Tunisian Revolution. The basis for this account is direct observation as a participant in the events, augmented by a documentation of dates, numbers, names, and other material garnered from newspaper and television reportage, Facebook pages, as well as information and analyses from blogs. It follows rather classical sociohistorical criteria for evaluating the occurrence of revolutions, symbolized by the various more or less violent clashes between the involved conflicting forces, and, in accordance with the fundamentals of historiography and maintaining a modicum of methodological rigor, the account is restricted to the first forty days of the revolution.
Mounir Saidani; Revolution and Counterrevolution in Tunisia: The Forty Days That Shook the Country. boundary 2 1 February 2012; 39 (1): 43–54. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-1506238
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