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Youth, Politics and the Media: Legitimacy Issues in Post-Revolutionary Tunisia

Since Tunisia's revolution in 2011, youth have represented a fundamental challenge for the country's political stability. For public authorities in the transition period, young Tunisians personify the interweaving of three strong trends: the demographic changes of the past few decades (younger population, rural-urban migration), their economic consequences (high unemployment and underemployment rates among young graduates), and activism in "the streets," especially by these youth during the revolution. However, there is still much to understand about the critical factors related to youth's participation in politics: how do factors such as political activism, use of technologies or understanding of common good ultimately shape their involvement? This project deals with the antagonistic interactions between the media, youth, and the legitimacies related to the participation of youth (girls and boys) in Tunisia's sociopolitical transition process. It will also provide support to Tunisia's diverse community of social researchers around emerging issues on youth's public participation and share that research with decision-makers on youth policy. Coordinated by the Observatoire National de la Jeunesse (ONJ), the project seeks to answer a key question in present-day Tunisia: What is the media's role in the legitimacy negotiation process started by youth as stakeholders involved in Tunisia's transition to democracy? To what extent do the media participate in the legitimacy and social recognition of political participation by youth in this preliminary phase? Finally, what can be done from a public policy perspective to facilitate political participation by youth and development of the media field that contributes to giving legitimacy to Tunisian political life during the transition? Two studies and four action research activities will be carried out to understand the social reality in Tunisia. Researchers will propose concrete dissemination activities to share results with decision-makers and civil society stakeholders. Training for junior researchers, publications, and seminars are also planned to further disseminate the findings and inform decision-makers.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
36 months
IDRC Officer
Florencio Ceballos
Total Funding
CA$ 649,200.00
Governance and Justice
Institution Country
Project Leader
Sihem Najar
Observatoire national de la jeunesse