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The Tunisian Revolution as a Catalyst to the Arab Spring: A Case Study of Revolution in North Africa and the Middle East
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AbstractThis thesis research project is an attempt to understand the nature, sources, dynamics, and contradictions of the Tunisian Revolution of 2010-11. Contained within the thesis are seven chapters, each outlining political, economic, cultural, and social phenomena that precipitated the Revolution, as well as the dynamics following the Revolution. Chapter 1 provides a discussion of various competing theoretical perspectives on social movements, introduces the methodological approach and sources of data utilized in this thesis, and sets the stage for the study of the Tunisian Revolution by exploring its unique characteristics as a case study of revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East that came to be known as the Arab Spring. Chapter 2 discusses the impact of both domestic and international economic structures and conditions that were in place in the decades leading to the Revolution. Chapter 3 analyzes the political institutions and paradigms enforced by the authoritarian government in Tunisia which led to social instability and civil strife. Chapter 4 demonstrates how various segments of the population, including women, youth, and workers oppressed through mechanisms that deprived certain regions in Tunisia of economic gain during the Ben Ali regime came together to ignite the Tunisian Revolution. Chapter 5 analyzes the cultural and social tools that were made available through various media forms that facilitated the Revolution. Chapter 6 takes a look at the obstacles and challenges that Tunisia still faces after the Revolution. Finally, Chapter 7 draws some conclusions regarding the Tunisian Revolution and provides some directions for future research. Together, these seven chapters provide a case study of the Tunisian Revolution by analyzing political, economic, social, and cultural dynamics and structures that led to large-scale institutional and societal transformations.