Anti-Elitism in Tunisia: Condition of Political Success?


Anti-Elitism in Tunisia: Condition of Political Success?

In this podcast, Associate Professor Tarek Kahlaoui reflects on populism in the post-revolutionary context of Tunisia. Kahlaoui questions the idea of an umbrella definition of Tunisian populism, a misleading term that overlooks important nuances. He asks whether populism is a real threat to representative democracy. He compares the two distinctive frontrunners of the 2019 presidential elections, Kais Saied and Nabil Karoui.

Associate Prof. Kahlaoui taught history and Islamic civilization at Rutgers University for a decade after completing his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania in 2008. After serving as the general director of the Tunisian Institute of Strategic Studies, Tunisia's leading think tank tied to the Presidency of the Republic, he resumed teaching history of the Arab World at the South Mediterranean University in Tunis. He is author of a 2020 book on Ahmed Ben Salah, a powerful super-minister under Tunisia's first president, Habib Bourguiba.

This podcast, in CEMAT's Politics Now lecture series, was recorded as part of the roundtable on "Populism, Politics and Popularity - Reflections on the Politics of Today," organized by the Centre d'Études Maghrébines à Tunis (CEMAT) on February 6, 2020, at Le 15 in downtown Tunis.

Download the Podcast:  Feed  iTunes  / Podbean

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


Suggested Readings


Hawkins, Kirk A., Ryan E. Carlin and Cristóbal Kaltwasser Rovira, Eds. 2019. The Ideational Approach to Populism: Concept, Theory, and Analysis. New York: Routledge.

Mudde, Cas. 2004. "The Populist Zeitgeist." Government and Opposition 39(4): 541-563. 

Kahlaoui, Tarek. 2019. "How Tunisia's Presidential Election Could Deliver a Populist President." The Washington Post (14 September).