The Tunisian Republic and the Restructuring of Socio-Economic Institutions: A Brief Analysis of Bourguiba’s Nation-Building Project
Tunisia has a rich Islamic history. However, during French Protectorate it gradually developed a strong connection with the French secular legacy. Despite launching an intense movement against the French occupation and gaining independence on March 20, 1956, Tunisia favoured to retain and implement the pro-French values under the leadership of Habib Bourguiba (1903-2000). The article shows that Tunisia has a long tradition of reform, rooted in the nineteenth‐century Tunisian reform movement. The article first examines certain aspects of the culture of reform in the post-independent Tunisia and suggests that Bourguiba mobilised the Tunisians through his nationalist discourse about nation-building, modernisation, progress and empowerment. Then it moves to discuss and examine the empowerment of women, the reformation of the educational system, the evolving of new economic strategies and the developments in Islamic law—some of the highlights of Bourguiba’s nation-building project. Revisiting the Tunisia’s rapid transition to modernisation during the era of Bourguiba, the paper explains the nature and impact of relationship between Islam, on the one hand, and Tunisian state, politics, economics, society, and education on the other.Keywords
Tunisia, Habib Bourguiba, reconstruction, modernisation, empowerment.
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