Making the Dinar, Producing the State in Postcolonial Tunisia


Making the Dinar, Producing the State in Postcolonial Tunisia 

This interview focuses on the archives around the creation of the Tunisian Central Bank and the Tunisian dinar in 1958/1959. Looking at these documents as material assemblages, help illuminate how the making of national currency is a process that links state power and the production of the economy. Indeed, the entanglements between economic imaginaries and state power are revealed through the body of money, as national currency becomes a privileged site of intervention for the state. By considering different archives, that of the Central Bank along with state plans of the same period the talk also reveals the debates around what the economy ought to be and ultimately about the nature and modes of state power in the postcolonial moment. Myriam Amri's PhD project is on social relations around money in Tunisia. More specifically, she considers how monetary policies around creation, conversion and inflation permeate social discourses and everyday economic practices. The project ultimately seeks to see how the forms and meanings of money help trace relations of power in contemporary Tunisia.

Myriam Amri is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology & Middle Eastern studies at Harvard University. She previously completed an MSc in anthropology & development from the London School of Economics and is the co-founder of the literary magazine "Asameena".

CEMAT Director, Dr. Laryssa Chomiak, led this interview which was recorded during the CEMAT Director’s Conference on “Narratives of Legitimacy and the Maghrebi State: Power, Law and Comparison” held on 21 June 2019 in Sidi BouSaid, Tunisia.

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Posted by Hayet Lansari, Librarian, Outreach Coordinator, Content Curator (CEMA).

Suggested Readings

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Coronil, Fernando. 1997. The Magical State : Nature, Money, and Modernity in Venezuela
Chicago : University of Chicago Press.

Dodd, Nigel. 2014. The Social Life of Money. Princeton & Oxford : Princeton University Press.

Elyachar, Julia. 2005. Markets of Dispossession: NGOs, Economic Development, and the State in Cairo. Durham &London : Duke University Press.

Gregory, Christopher A. 1996. "Cowries and Conquest : Towards a Subalternate Quality Theory of Money". Society for Comparative Study of Society and History, Vol 10 : 195–217.

Hibou, Béatrice. 2015. The Force of Obedience The Political Economy of Repression In Tunisia. Cambridge : Polity Press.

Mitchell, Timothy. 1988. Colonising Egypt. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.

Tsing, Anna L. 2000. "Inside the Economy of Appearances". Public Culture12(1) : 115–144.