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Barnard College

Publication Date

Spring 2020

Program Name

Tunisia and Italy: Politics and Religious Integration in the Mediterranean


Although Tunisia has made significant progress in establishing procedural democracy since the 2011 revolution, the state still faces significant challenges in consolidating their new spirit of democracy throughout society. This trouble includes difficulty fostering participation from its citizens, particularly among youth aged 18-30. This article hypothesizes that these difficulties stems largely from the state’s failure to construct a concept of Tunisian citizenship in line with democratic ideologies. Citizenship construction is considered as a political science concept that describes the mechanisms by which states relate with their citizenry with the goal of defining citizen interactions with the government and national community. This article focuses on the Tunisian national civic education curriculum as a citizenship creating mechanism. From an analysis of civic education content and pedagogy through primary materials and interviews, it is found that while the Tunisian civic education curriculum works to create a citizenry that supports the mechanisms of a procedural democracy, it does not reach the ideological backings necessary to support the long term goals of democratic government. In order to solve these shortcomings, the article suggests reforming the national civic education curriculum to focus more on critical thinking, diverse perspectives and student engagement with communities outside of the classroom. With these changes, it is believed that the civic education curriculum can work to support rule of law, government transparency and community coexistence for meaningful citizen participation in government and the longevity of democracy in Tunisia.


Arabic Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Political Science | Politics and Social Change | Social Influence and Political Communication


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