Dr Norbert Bugeja’s latest article, titled ‘Tunisia’s Endangered Exception: History at Large in the Southern Mediterranean’ has been published in the ‘Mediterranean at Large’ issue of the journal Politics, co-edited by Iain Chambers and Marta Cariello. Bugeja’s article explores various facets of the relation between Tunisia’s post-independence political bequeathals and the legacy of a political memory that, today, is being sabotaged and rendered fugitive, not least through the acts of terror that have recently hit the country and crippled its tourist economy.
Arguing that Tunisia’s democratic trajectories are at stake today and risk being 'orphaned' of their history of reformist precedents accrued over the past one hundred and fifty years, the author reflects on the current political state of play in Tunisia and makes a case for a restored dialectic of interchange with specific tenets of Tunisia’s late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century enlightenment movement. The engendering of political subjectivities in post-revolutionary Tunisia and the piecing together of its multi-faceted national imaginary require today what Etiénne Balibar would term a «differentiation» of the change towards a non-despotic democratisation brought about in 2011. The article assesses this context through a combination of field research, historiographic and political-theoretical sources, ranging from the work of Moëz Majed to that of Larbi Sadiki, Nouri Gana, Alcinda Honwana, Kenneth Perkins, Lise Storm and various others.
The ‘Mediterranean at Large’ issue of Politics (No. 5: 1/2016) brings together an exciting sequence of critical reflections on both the contemporary and historic Mediterraneans, and is divided into two parts. The first section, titled ‘Politics, Borders, Conflicts’, features contributions from Luigi Cazzato, Antonio Iodice, Caterina Miele and Norbert Bugeja. The second section, titled ‘Visions, Narratives, Trespassings’ contains essays by Simos Zeniou, Aneta Lipska, Robert Watson, Michele Claudio Domenico Masciopinto, Elisabetta Serafini, Silvana Carotenuto and Victoria Team.
This is Dr Bugeja’s second article on the post-2011 state of play in Tunisia, following on from the publication of ‘Hyper-Despotism of the Bullet: Post-Bardo Tunisia and its (Unforgiving) Memorial Communiqué’ in the journal Prospero earlier this year.
Last month, Dr Bugeja authored the entry to Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul — Memories of a City for The Literary Encyclopedia, a major international online reference initiative.
Dr Bugeja is Research Fellow at the Mediterranean Institute, University of Malta