Manel Zouabi

Transitional Tunisia: Discursive Constructions of ‘Woman’ on Islamist Facebook Pages

I am Manel, and I joined the Centre for Women’s Studies in January 2011 in order to conduct a doctoral research about how Islamist politicians, civil associations and individual partisans construed ‘woman’ on Facebook platforms in early transitional Tunisia (2011-12). This project was motivated by the political change Tunisia experienced in 2011, the timely scholarly debates about the role of social media sites, especially Facebook, in bringing into this change and, most importantly, my personal and academic interest in gender equality and feminist theory.

While most research about the Tunisian 2011 Revolution and the aftermath MENA waves of uprisings focused on the role of social media in mobilising people into street rebellion, I shift into the exploration of how Facebook in particular was deployed afterwards beyond the idea of ‘revolution’ for the construction of mediated representations of ‘woman’ on Islamist Facebook pages. My focus on the Islamist discourse stems from the noticeable transformation of political Islam into a key vocal actor in the transitional socio-political landscape. I ask: ‘How do Islamists construe women and what strategies are used to enable Islamist ideas on women to become culturally acceptable?’ In order to address these questions I carefully select thematic-representative posts and comments and deploy critical discourse analysis methods to offer a small-scale, detailed analysis of the reinscription of women into the Islamist discourse.

I have greatly enjoyed working in the welcoming and motivating environment the Centre for Women's Studies provides for research students, and I hope that my thesis makes an original contribution to women's studies in relation to social media studies, North African Studies, political Islam and international relations.

Last Updated: June 27, 2017 |

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