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Online Department Seminar: Exploring Political Ideologies in the Arab World: The case of Post-Revolution Tunisia

Ameni Mehrez
Wednesday, May 26, 2021, 2:30 pm – 4:10 pm

Do political ideologies exist in the Arab World? Most of the literature investigating the meaning, structure, and role of political ideologies has focused on Western democracies. Little is known about non-Western, new democracies and particularly the Arab world. An influential view holds that in Arab countries where patronage and clientelism dominate politics, there is little to no place for ideology or policy content. This paper explores political ideologies in the only democratic country of the Arab region – Tunisia. Using representative face-to-face survey data collected at the end of 2019, I first test the structure of political ideologies using social and economic policy preferences. In a second study, I test the political significance of ideologies for voting behavior. Results provide evidence that ideological structure exists in Tunisia despite its short, 10-year long democratic history.