Tasnim Abderrahim, Laura-Theresa Krüger, Salma Besbes & Katharina McLarren (editors, 2018): Tunisia’s International Relations since the ‘Arab Spring’. Transition Inside and Out, published by Routledge.

The book presents original research and analysis conducted by the research group “Tunisia in Transition – International Relations” over the last years and consists of four book parts:
I Principles, aspirations, limitations: reshaping Tunisia’s foreign policy
II Oscillation, cooperation, commitment: Tunisia and its partners
III Inspiration, conditionality, concertation: Tunisia and international institutions
IV Challenges, uncertainty, determination: key transnational issues

With contributions by: Tasnim Abderrahim, Salma Besbes, Aymen Briki, Emna Chihi Ouji, Elena Dück, Mootaz Ghothbani, Soumaya Hichri, Ines Kalai, Rihab Kordi, Laura-Theresa Krüger, Katharina McLarren, Edmund Ratka, Marie-Christine Roux, Reinhardt Rummel, Jaweher Skhiri, Sabrine Souissi, Lisa Spantig, Bernhard Stahl, Ignaz Völk, Mohamed Nidhal Zaier.
For the contents list, please check this link.


Published Articles

Stahl, Bernhard, “Die Reaktion der EU auf die Arabellion – das Beispiel Tunesien”, in: Der Beitrag der Europäischen Union zur Stabilisierung des Nahen Ostens und Nordafrikas. Tagungsband zur Jahrestagung des Arbeitskreises Europäische Integration 2016, 2017, pp. 51-64.

For availability options, please check this link.


Meike Lettau & Caroline Knoblich (2017): Foreign cultural policy in processes of transformation: perceptions of German-Tunisian cultural exchange, in: ENCATC Journal of Cultural Management and Policy.

Within the concept of German foreign cultural policy, this article investigates the engagement of the Goethe-Institut in transitional Tunisia through the eyes of cultural activists on the ground. Since the Arab uprisings, the new policy framework of the German-Tunisian ‘Transformation Partnership’ has been established, and extended approaches of the Goethe-Institut have been defined. The starting point of this article is to analyze how local cultural activists on the ground perceive the Goethe-Institut, and whether the engagement of the Goethe-Institut responds to the identified local needs. By taking the theoretical concepts of public diplomacy and soft power, the study examines policy and practice of the Goethe-Institut in times of the Tunisian transition, its role as well as its partnership approach and engagement in the fields of qualification, participation and networking. The main findings are that the Goethe-Institut contributes to the development of the cultural scene in Tunisia mainly through supporting cooperation-based projects, qualification and cultural management training as well as supporting international exchange.


Laura-Theresa Krüger & Bernhard Stahl (2016): The French foreign policy U-turn in the Arab Spring – the case of Tunisia, in: Mediterranean Politics.

Our research fellows Laura-Theresa Krüger and Bernhard Stahl jointly published an article about Franco-Tunisian relations before and since 2011 in the journal Mediterranean Politics. Therein, they argue that, as for many, the Arab uprisings of 2010–11 came as a surprise for France. After initial inactivity, followed by last minute support of the Tunisian regime, President Sarkozy took a U-turn by spearheading the military intervention in Libya and both Sarkozy and his successor Hollande announced a re-launch in the Franco-Tunisian relations. Starting from the assumption that France’s drastic foreign policy changes cannot be sufficiently explained by presidential change, they draw upon social-constructivist discourse-bound identity theory and provide a model for discursive legitimations of foreign policy changes. When the “permissive consensus” between the three discursive formations of the French foreign policy identity breaks up, drastic foreign policy turns may occur. By analysing the French policy actions and rhetoric towards Tunisia between 2007 and 2015, the authors show, however, that the sudden change tends to be rather ephemeral and that French foreign policy seems to be gradually returning to its pre-revolution approach.


Elyès Bousbih & Abderrahmen Yalaoui (2015) – The Interplay of Politics and Religion in the New Tunisian Constitution: A Legal Analysis, in: Mathieu Rousselin / Christopher Smith (eds), “The Tunisian Constitutional Process: Main Actors and Key Issues”, Global Dialogues 7, Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research, pp. 16-23.

Our former TiT fellows Elyès Bousbih and Abderrahmen Yaalaoui jointly published an article about the issue of religion as treated in the new Tunisian Constitution adopted in early 2014. At the same time, they take a comparative view on the predecessor Constitution and analyse on how far religion is now treated differently.


Laura-Theresa Krüger & Edmund Ratka (2015) – Adapting Foreign Policy to a Country in Transition: France, Germany and the new Tunisia, in: Mathieu Rousselin / Christopher Smith (eds), “The Tunisian Constitutional Process: Main Actors and Key Issues”, Global Dialogues 7, Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research, pp. 46-56.

The TiT project members Laura-Theresa Krüger and Edmund Ratka jointly published an article about how France and Germany adapted their foreign policies towards Tunisia between 2011 and 2014. They contend that while France has had some difficulties with adapting to the Tunisian transition, Germany found amore smooth and constructive way of dealing with the new political environment. The two authors link these findings to certain elements of French and German political cultures that either facilitated or hindered the redefinition of relations with post-revolutionary Tunisia.


Laura-Theresa Krüger & Edmund Ratka (2014) – “A new response to a changing neighbourhood?” The Perception of European Policies in Tunisia after the Arab Spring, in: L’Europe en formation, n° 371, 1/2014, pp. 9-25.

Our project members Laura-Theresa Krüger and Edmund Ratka jointly published an article about the perception of European policies in Tunisia after the Arab Spring. In their article, based on interviews with civil society activists in Tunis, they investigate whether Tunisians perceive a change in Euro-Tunisian relations and how effective and unified the presumably ‘new’ policy is in Tunisian eyes. While a perception of change clearly dominates, Europe is not seen as speaking with one voice. Yet, as the authors conclude, the intensified activism of several EU member states can still increase European actorness as a whole.


Anis Ben Amor & Edmund Ratka (2013) – ‘A yearning for emancipation’ – Article on European-Tunisian Cooperation in Culture and Education, in: Culture Report, Vol. 6 of the Eunic Yearbook 2013/2014: “Europe from the Outside. Expectations of Europe’s External Cultural Relations” (German version; English version).

Our project members Anis Ben Amor and Edmund Ratka jointly published an article about the challenges to the European Foreign Cultural and Educational Policy after the Arab Spring.


Working Papers

The Working Paper Series serves as platform to share and discuss on-going research which is conducted in the framework of “Tunisia in Transition”. In 2013, we focused on the developments of the Tunisian transformation process. Researchers examined issues such as the draft constitution, ‘post-revolutionary’ labour market policies, or the media regulation in Tunisia. In 2014, the international dimension of the Tunisian transition constitutes a focus of our project. Preliminary research in this field was already done in 2013, in particular with regard to German-Tunisian relations and international organisations as transformative actors in Tunisia. Please find below respective working papers of our research fellows.


Tasnim Abderrahim: American Democracy Promotion in Transitioning Tunisia: A Recipient-Centered Approach (March 2015)

Salma BesbesL’ONU- Acteur du processus transitionnel en Tunisie (December 2013)

Amine BoughanmiLa politique sociale de traitement du chômage en Tunisie après le 14 janvier 2011 : Les programmes du fonds national de l’emploi exemple (December 2013)

Elyès Bousbih: La cour constitutionnelle tunisienne d’après le projet de la constitution (December 2013)

Abderrahmen YaalaouiLa composition de la Cour constitutionelle tunisienne d’après le projet de constitution du 22 avril 2013 (December 2013)

Arwa KooliMore than a “Twitter Revolution”: Motivations of bloggers during the Tunisian revolution (September 2013)

Chaïmae BouazzaouiL’indépendance de l’instance de régulation audio-visuelle en Tunisie – la HAICA comparée avec le CSA en France et le Presserat en Allemagne (June 2013)

Selima Ben SalemExcès et dépassements des médias Tunisiens post-14 Janvier et perspectives de régulation (April 2013)

Edmund RatkaThe German-Tunisian Transformation Partnership – A model for supporting democracy in the Arab world? (March 2013)




Chronology of the Tunisian Transition in 2013


December 30: The Ministry of Industry and Technology announces the launching of a new program of Tunisian-German partnership for the period 2014-2017, entitled “Manager Training Program” for Tunisian small and medium enterprises of all branches.


December 28: The Secretary General of the centrist liberal Republican Party Al-Joumhouri, Maya Jribi, announces the decision of her party to withdraw from the Union for Tunisia while maintaining its adherence to the National Salvation Front.


December 24: “The Board of Directors of the European Investment Bank (EIB) has given its approval for the funding of an exploration of gas reserves project in the south of Tunisia, to the tune of 380 Million Euros (about 856 Million Dinars)”, says Philippe De Fontaine Vive, Vice-President of the EIB.


Click here for the full Chronology of the Tunisian Transition – April to December 2013 by Houssem Rabhi and Hela Abouda.