The Tunisian Revolution and Democratic Transition : The Role of al-Nahḍah book cover
1st Edition

The Tunisian Revolution and Democratic Transition
The Role of al-Nahḍah

ISBN 9780367762308
Published November 30, 2021 by Routledge
188 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Drawing on the history of post-independence Tunisia, the book studies the evolution of al-Nahḍah as a political party in Tunisia and its role in a protracted struggle to shape the post-authoritarian order along democratic lines. It explores al-Nahḍah's relationship with the Tunisian state, society and beyond that resulted in shaping its fluctuating expressions of ideology and practices.

State repression, political participation, or internal differentiation (among other factors) place an Islamic movement (in this case al-Nahḍah) in such a situation that demands a perpetual self re-evaluation as well as implementation of ideology, objectives, and political programmes. The study explains how the socio-political setting in Tunisia demanded various ideologically opposite currents (Islamic, liberal, or leftist) to endure cross-ideological cooperation either to contest authoritarian regimes or to engage in the political process. It more importantly analyzes the trajectory of a gradual democratization process in the country and provides evidence explaining the impact and importance of a vibrant civil society, building alliances, and sharing of power.

The book provides comparative analytical attention to the primary sources on these issues to create a critical historiography. It thus adds to the body of literature on the state, society, and politics in the MENA region and particularly targets students, scholars, and social scientists interested in understanding the nature of power and politics in Tunisia and beyond.

Table of Contents

Section I.  Reading the History of Ḥizb al-Nahḍah
1. Ḥizb al-Nahḍah: Causes, Origins, and Early Development
2. From Al-Jamā‘ah al-Islāmi̇̄yyah to Ḥarkah al-Ittijah al-Islāmi̇̄
3. Ḥizb al-Nahḍah: The Fall of Bourguiba and the Engagement with Bin Ali
Section II.  The Genesis of the Tunisian Revolution: A Discussion
4. Tunisian Revolution in the backdrop of Arab Spring
5. The Path to Tunisian Revolution
Section III.  Post-Revolution Political Milieu of Tunisia: Understanding the Role of al-Nahḍah
6. Post-Revolution Tunisia and the Path to Democratic Transition
7. Ḥizb al-Nahḍah: Power, Politics, and the Governance Test

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Mohammad Dawood Sofi is an Assistant Professor (Contractual) in Islamic Studies at the Directorate of Distance Education (DDE), University of Kashmir Srinagar, India. Prior to joining DDE, he served as a postdoctoral research fellow in International Relations at Ankara Yildirim Beyazit University, Turkey. His recent books include Rāshid al-Ghannūshi̇̄: A Key Muslim Thinker of the 21st Century (2018).


"This dynamic account of al-Nahdah provides insightful analysis and a forthright, realistic, critical history. Dr. Sofi’s rich narrative illuminates Tunisian exceptionalism and unfolds the complex array of factors that shaped al-Nahdah’s evolution into a pragmatic political force supporting stability."
Jonathan K. Zartman, Air Command and Staff College, USA

"Dr Dawood Sofi has, by this book, established himself as an expert on the intricate relationship between efforts towards democratization and smooth Islamization in Tunisia, a case of shining success in the so-called Arab Spring process. The book fills a void by addressing the root causes of a successful contribution to democratization through an Islamist agenda."

Cenap Çakmak, Anadolu University, Turkey

"The book by Mohammad Dawood Sofi is a comprehensive and rigorous analysis of the role of Ennahda in the recent history of Tunisia, from its origins to the post-Arab uprisings phase. As such it is a must-read not only for anyone working on the North African country from a political and sociological perspective but also for scholars and practitioners alike who are interested in the pivotal trajectory of one of the most successful Islamist parties in the Arab-Muslim world."

Silvia Colombo, Istituto Affari Internazionali, Rome

"This book is a welcome contribution to the study of the Tunisian transition and in particular the role that the Islamist party and its leader, Rachid Ghannouchi, played in it. It is a must-read for all those interested in understanding the origins and development of the party."

Francesco Cavatorta, Université Laval, Canada

"Mohammad Dawood Sofi's The Tunisian Revolution and Democratic Transition is an important and engaging in-depth study of the role of the Arab Spring and the trajectory of the Tunisian revolution. The author provides an in-depth analysis of the history, development and the significant and critical role that Hizb al-Nahda (the Renaissance Party) and its founder Rachid Ghannouchi have played in Tunisia's political transition from an autocracy to a struggling and emerging democracy."  

John L. Esposito, Georgetown University, United States and author of The Future of Islam

"Mohammad Dawood Sofi provides an in-depth analysis of Tunisian political history with a focus on the role of Hizb al-Nahda in democratic transition in Tunisia since the fall of Bin Ali. The author offers a very interesting insight into this unique Tunisian case and explains the reasons for the success of al-Nahda in the country."

Abdul Majid Khan, Aligarh Muslim University, India

"Based on a comprehensive research, Sofi Dawood provides an important analysis on how Tunisia successfully evolved from authoritarianism into democratic governance. The Tunisian Revolution and Democratic Transition sheds light on the political, social, economic and constitutional developments that have shaped Tunisia’s exceptional path to democracy."

Ayfer Erdogan, Yildiz Technical University, Turkey