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Durham e-Theses
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“Have Tunisian civil society organisations exhibited the civil political culture required to fulfil a democratic function through the post-2011 transition?”

MARTIN, ALEXANDER,PETER (2016) “Have Tunisian civil society organisations exhibited the civil political culture required to fulfil a democratic function through the post-2011 transition?”. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis asks whether the post-2011 transition has allowed Tunisian civil society to fulfil the democratic functions attributed to it by civil society and democratisation theorists. It uses an understanding of civil society as playing a democratising function through Oppositional-Resistance and Liberal-Associative roles, both of which rely on the existence of a civil political culture. The thesis examines the existence of a civil political culture, identified through the presence of the six criteria of Freedom, Equality, Pluralism, Tolerance, Trust, and Transparency. This thesis uses Welch’s theory of political culture, which recognises that political culture manifests as both discourse and practice. In order to understand civil society’s discourse and practice, Welch’s theory is developed into a methodology of three research methods, drawn from both positivist and interpretivist approaches of social science research. The role of civil society in the Tunisian transition is assessed in relation to its counterpart - the state. A triangulation of methods - a quantitative attitude survey, structured interviews, and ethnographic participant observation – examines inter-CSO relations, how CSOs interact with the state, and the internal CSO dynamics in addition to CSO institutional culture. This approach enables the assessment of the discourse and practice of civil society organisation (CSO) members’ political culture.
The Tunisian case demonstrates the validity of the argument that the state must allow civil society sufficient public space to accomplish a democratic function. Simultaneously, civil society, in both Oppositional-Resistance and Liberal-Associative understandings, must exhibit civil political culture in order to fulfil a democratic function. It further demonstrates that only through a multifaceted research approach that addresses discourse and practice can political culture accurately be assessed. This thesis concludes that civility is developing in Tunisian civil society as CSO relationships with the state, other CSOs and its own members evolve, which has enabled CSOs to fulfil a democratic function.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Tunisia, civil society, civil society organisations, political culture, civic culture, democratic transition,
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:20 Dec 2016 09:20

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