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Post-Arab Spring Tunis

Dena Qaddumi

Tunis, Tunisia


PhD in Architecture



During the Arab Spring, Arab cities and their iconic public spaces became beacons of revolutionary practices. This dissertation focuses on the aftermath of this event and investigates the urban consequences of the Arab Spring on Tunis. The multi-scaled study traces a regional phenomenon by associating the Arab city with the Arab Spring and, drawing from international cases, develops an approach for studying the revolutionary city. The methodology employed fieldwork in five distinct sites in Tunis, selected for their contribution to the revolutionary city in three key areas: national public spaces, regime landscapes, and the capital city. Through a synthesis of these sites, the dissertation argues that the trajectory of Tunis is one of multiple disclosure as revolution continues through differentiated, incremental practices in sites of conflict across the city. These sites are endowed with possibilities for conflict predicated on the collective memories associated with each site; their perceived value as spaces of political and cultural legitimacy; their relation to the regime and the people; their place within the city's topography; and their physical and urban qualities. As a city that to date has received little scholarly study, Tunis shows that revolution instigates these possibilities as the new regime and the people forge a common future in the city. This study thus challenges the dominant focus on the state, and formal politics, for evaluating revolutionary trajectories.

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