Spaces of Dialogue? the Case of the Wsf Tunis 2013 from the Perspective of Local Youth and Volunteers

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 9:00 AM
Room: 418
Oral Presentation
Sofia LAINE , Finnish Youth Research Network, Helsinki, Finland
Fatma JABBERI , Université de Carthage, Tunisia
The paper focuses on the World Social Forum (the WSF) held in Tunis 26-30 March 2013 from the local youth perspective. The WSF Tunis brought together 60,000 participants from formal and informal social movements and networks all over the world for five days. The authors distinguish the young WSF volunteers from other Tunisian youth who participated in the forum. The data drives from participatory ethnography and action research. Around 15 WSF volunteers and 20 young Tunisian civil society actors involved in the WSF Tunis were interviewed during and right after the forum.

The research questions focus empirically on the dialogue/non-dialogue from the young Tunisian participants points-of-view: 1) what kind of local (Tunisian) dialogue took place; and 2) what kind of global dialogue (esp. together with non-Tunisian participants) took place – inside and outside workshops and sessions. These questions intertwine with the questions of why the WSF came to Tunisia and what affect it had to the local civil-society from the young informant’s perspective. The paper also studies the roles and effects of the local youth in the WSF as well as the success and shortcomings of the WSF Tunis from the perspectives of the young volunteers and young Tunisian civil society actors.

The Tunisian author of the paper (Jabberi) was the volunteer coordinator in the WSF Tunis for around 1,200 volunteers (applying action-research and auto-ethnography), the Finnish author (Laine) was carrying out her post-doctoral research in the forum (and conducting interviews as part of her ethnography). Therefore, the academic dialogue between the global South and North takes also place in the setting of co-authors, carefully reflected in the paper.