‘Job seekers’ and ‘enterprise incubators’: Educational reform in Tunisia

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In Stalled Democracy, Eva Bellin argues that in the case of countries like Tunisia—states that enter the process of industrial development relatively late in the capitalist game—state-sponsored industrialization has unintended consequences. On the one hand, when the authoritarian state encourages private sector capital and labour, it sows the seeds of democratic reform by developing social forces that ultimately achieve enough power to challenge repressive state policies. On the other hand, those who have specifically benefited from state intervention in economic processes are reluctant to challenge that state's authoritarian practices. As a result, ‘Democracy is stunted halfway between autocracy and fully accountable government’. This essay uses Bellin's thesis to examine the problem of undertaking educational reform in a stalled democracy like Tunisia. It explores the uneasy fit between English Studies and a university education geared, according to the Tunisian government, towards ‘job seekers’ and ‘enterprise builders’.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-215
Number of pages15
JournalChanging English: Studies in Culture and Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education


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