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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Publication Date

Fall 2019

Program Name

Tunisia and Italy: Politics and Religious Integration in the Mediterranean


This study attempts to explore the nature of the Tunisian national trade union, the Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail (UGTT), as it operates in Tunisia today. This was achieved by conducting in-depth interviews with Tunisians living in the greater Tunis area in the fall of 2019. Through the lens of both those affiliated with the UGTT and those who have no ties to the organization, an image of the UGTT is able to be revealed as a conspicuous entity. Is its aim to hold power in government? Or rather stay outside of the sphere of national politics to effect change? Though the UGTT has decades of history grappling with these questions, its modern role is unique in both an ideological sense and a practical one. The establishment of a democratic government in Tunisia after the 2011 revolution ostensibly cleared the path for the UGTT to advocate its causes more freely and aggressively than under previous authoritarian regimes. However, it remains to be seen whether the organization will break out of the advantages of the institutionally-liminal space it occupies, and whether the Tunisian people will see the UGTT as a worthy mode of class action and organization.


African Studies | Arabic Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Islamic World and Near East History | Labor History | Political Science | Politics and Social Change | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Social Influence and Political Communication | Unions


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