The Tunisian Revolution (M.A. Thesis)

Lukacs, Nils E. The Tunisian Revolution. Student’s Perspective and Role in its Historical Context. M.A. thesis. Heidelberg University/EHESS, Heidelberg/Paris, 2014.

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The research project The Tunisian Revolution – The Student’s Perspective and Role in its Historical Context (original title: Tunesische Revolution – Perspektiven und Rolle tunesischer Studenten im historischen Kontext) aims to put a personal perspective on the complexity of ideas surrounding the Arab Revolution in Tunisia. The goal is to gain access to the subjective perception of a defined group of the Tunisian society (students) and analyse the ideas they had in mind for the revolution, the mechanisms of the protest movements and the well disputed notion of an ‘Internet Revolution’.

The methodological approach is based on a number of interviews held with Tunisian students and the contextualisation of the information obtained within established historical narratives surrounding the revolution. This way, it is expected to gain access to the questions of a contemporary issue with the methods of the historical sciences. As the nature of this venture is based on dynamic discussions with Tunisian students, the outcome is highly dependent on the evaluation of the information obtained. The interviews, however, have been oriented on three lead questions that would serve as a structure for the analysis: The first is centred around the complexes of identity and ideology in order to situate the participants in the broader phenomenon; a second examines the interviewees’ personal participation in the events since December 2010; and a third approach is aimed to obtain information on networks and patterns of organisation during the protests with special regard to the web based aspects of the revolution.

The results of this innovative approach line in with the current trends of research on the Tunisian Revolution, the mobilisation of its young participants, and the role of the internet in this dynamic process. A sophisticated network analysis lays out the information flow among participants and puts into relation the mobilising role that social media platforms have been given in this process by contemporary observers.