Social Change Challenging Social Sciences: The Case of Tunisia

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 12:45
Oral Presentation
Mounir SAIDANI, Tunis El Manar University, Tunisia
The Arab uprisings were not simply a speedy process of social change but rather a new phenomenon that challenged assumptions common in the social sciences. For the case of Tunisia, and especially for sociology, the uprising call for a broad and deep mode of observing social actions, a careful classification and analysis of social actors and social facts. My point of view is that it has been a challenging situation for knowledge because of a tendency among Tunisian sociologists to expect change only from above, undertaken by large social structures and at a slow pace.

I will attempt to point out that the explanatory paradigms implemented by Tunisians sociologists are problematic, given the realities of the uprising. I will argue that the mainstream of Tunisian sociology was built upon a profound belief that the State was efficient, and that society was not able to produce contestation and protest forces, let alone force change. The paper will illustrate the inadequacy of that way of thinking by exploring Tunisian youth connections and networks that made themselves known during the Tunisian revolution and over the two to three following years.