chapter  4
15 Pages

Downtown vibes

Electronic music and clubbing in Tunisia
WithStefano Barone

The chapter deals with the dynamics inherent to the Tunisian electronic music scene and its relation to the local clubbing circuit. It explains how the electronic scene offered to its participants a peculiar form of hedonism in a society characterised by a repressive conception of public morals. At the same time, this hedonism has for decades been exploited politically in order to claim the “openness” of Tunisia (as will be explained further in Chapter Six) and it is despised by some artists whose cultural aims are at odds with the desire of Tunisians to use electronic music solely as a way to set themselves free. The chapter then explains how the “underground” electro scene has always negotiated its spaces and ideology with the marketplace hedonism of the club circuit. Underground activists refuse the elitism inscribed in the local club scene and are often at odds with the strategies of club managers, but they have to exploit the physical spaces of the club circuit in order to exist. As a result, different conceptions of the underground have been developed by the various actors of the scene.