Latent Matters: Megaprojects and Political Imaginaries in Post-Revolution Tunis

  • Rosa Sansone

Student thesis: Phd


Similarly to other cities in North Africa, Tunis has become the target of an accelerating form of speculative and spectacular urban development financed by Gulf countries such as Dubai, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia since the early 2000s. In the final years of Ben Ali’s dictatorship (1987-2011), the government launched a series of megaprojects to boost the capital’s global image. Stalled during the Tunisian Revolution of 2011, these projects were later resumed by post-revolutionary governments as they were deemed necessary in the process of democratic transition. Symbolically acting as both material legacies of the dictatorship and as promises and enablers of democratisation in the post-revolutionary period, their possible resumption has catalysed ambivalent affective and moral dispositions towards the country’s socio-political change amongst local inhabitants who are differently positioned vis-à-vis these infrastructural interventions. Based on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Tunis and its outskirts between December 2015 and August 2017, this thesis captures this moment of renewed infrastructural promise and analyses how low-income communities living on the margins of development sites develop affective, temporal, and moral dispositions towards the post-revolutionary state and the democratic transition process as they emerged from their interactions with sites marked for large-scale infrastructural development.
Date of Award1 Aug 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPenelope Harvey (Supervisor) & Andrew Irving (Supervisor)

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