chapter  12
22 Pages

Developing or Creating Instability? Development Management, Scale and Representativeness in Tunisia

Since the Independence of Tunisia (1956), development has been a constituent of the political discourse and, in terms of public policies, has been based on largescale national programmes that constitute a modality of development such as the five year plan or, in the days of Ben Ali, the presidential decisions.1 Because of its significance for the territory, early national programmes focused on the rural sector (Rural Development Programme; Integrated Rural Development Programmes, etc.). However, whereas territorial inequalities and opposition between the rural and urban sector had been highly underlined in academic literature (Baduel 1985; Belhedi 1989, 1992; Sethom 1992), rural development policies seem to have had limited impact. Indeed, in 1978, 1984 or considering the Arab Spring in 2010-2011, the Tunisian uprisings started in rural areas and illustrate the development failures. The aim of this chapter is to analyse development policies, institutions and instruments that enhance local rural development and participation in Tunisia during the last decades.2 Whereas the country is often considered under the light of development studies as part of the ‘South’, it addresses development institutions and instruments and thus opens the door to a comparison with research on Northern countries (Sjöblom et al. 2006; Andersson 2009), especially through development management. Besides, three years after the so-called ‘Revolution’ the elements presented below help at understanding the development components, especially the management, the scale and the (lack of) representativeness, that determined the last but not least Tunisian uprising and that are still at stake in 2014, being structural factors of instability.