The Tunisian Revolution: An Object under Construction

  • Dorra Ben Alaya University of Tunis-El-Manar, ISSHT, Tunis / Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris



This study aims to explore the social representation of a sudden and unusual object: the “Tunisian revolution”. In reference to the philosophy of sciences, the underlying hypothesis is that the uprising in Tunisia had questioned the cognitive interpretation of the reality among Tunisians. Thus, facing such an extraordinary event as a revolution, this study explores the foundations of the social representation beyond its content. More specifically, the concept of Thema (Moscovici & Vignaux, 1994) is considered as a formalization of the axioms that should be explored facing the social representation of an object under construction. An empirical research was conducted to update the implicit structure of the discourse about the Tunisian revolution among a Tunisian network-connected group. A content semantic structural analysis, according to Hiernaux’s (1977) method analysis was applied to a corpus of qualitative responses to a questionnaire, collected at two different times. Results show a series of antinomies connected by different themata. They show an evolving of the revolution social representation from ambiguous categories defining the new reality to oppositions between conflictual positioning of the respondents about the events and the identity referents, expressing a new social organization.

Author Biography

Dorra Ben Alaya, University of Tunis-El-Manar, ISSHT, Tunis / Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris

DORRA BEN ALAYA is assistant professor of social psychology at Tunis-El-Manar University (Tunisia). For several years, she has been directing the Psychology Department of the Human Sciences Higher Institute, ensuring the development of international relations. She studies social representations in a transitional context and in relation with controversial objets and with objects carrying tension or being in competition with each other. She now leads a reflection on social representations foundations in relation with positioning organization and communication among virtual internet groups.