The primacy of political security: contentious politics and insecurity in the Tunisian revolution

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DateAccepted/In press - 21 Jul 2014
DatePublished (current) - 12 Sep 2014
Issue number7
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)1209-1229
Original languageEnglish


The removal of Ben Ali's regime in Tunisia signalled the start of the Arab Spring. The abrupt nature of the regime change raises questions about why it happened in the way it did. This article examines the contextual factors that precipitated the regime change through the lens of political security. The aim is to examine how political insecurity in society led to the emergence of opposition sufficiently organized to unseat Ben Ali. The paper develops a framework to consider how the loss of legitimacy by the regime opened the space for opposition. Attempts to restrict opposition failed to address underlying claims, leaving the way open for the opposition to unite following the self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi.

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    Research areas

  • Political Security, Legitimacy, Protest, State Capacity, Tunisia

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