Transcending the Islamist-secular dichotomy: Transnational advocacy networks and women's rights during the Arab spring period

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
Throughout the twentieth century, the status of women in Tunisia was often entangled in political conflicts and debates over the nation, modernity, and Islamic cultural authenticity. State feminism and Islamist-secularist contention thus played key roles in shaping discourse around women's rights. Since the end of the twentieth century, however, an independent women's movement has advocated its own agenda. There has been a notable shift in how these advocates coordinate with transnational advocacy networks (TAN) and present their issues nationally. This new mode of activism has enabled women's groups to leverage international influence whilst mitigating state cooptation of the women's rights agenda. This shift in tactics is embodied especially through the use of transnational networking strategies and the use of information technology to bridge the local to the global. In order to fully account the significance of this shift, I examine the development of women's rights advocacy in Tunisia from 1956 to 2020. I show that new modes of advocacy have significantly changed the ways that women in Tunisia perceive and engage with women's rights issues, which ultimately connects their struggle to a broader human rights agenda and a global feminist framework.
62 pages.
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Moustafa, Tamir
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