Repertoires of Identities: Language, Intersectionality and Memory in Tunisia (1881-Present)
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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EmbargoRelease after 05/10/2021
AbstractThe aim of this dissertation is to elucidate the links between identity, performative acts, social representations and memories by exploring linguistic and symbolic processes involved in identity construction in Tunisia (1881-present). It brings together historical, cultural and linguistic perspectives in order to explore the intersectional plays of identities among minority groups in Tunisia and abroad. As such, this dissertation takes an integrative approach that analyzes identity construction from various angles (sociolinguistics and cultural studies) and in different settings (Tunisia and diaspora) (Butler 1990, 1993; Crenshaw 1989, 1991; Hymes 1986; Myers-Scotton, 1993). Based on surveys, archival research and ethnographic work, this dissertation is divided into three main sections. The first section introduces and defines a new sociolinguistic construct termed intersectional linguistic repertoire (Benor 2013). This section investigates the mutually performative relationship between this repertoire and intersectional identities in Tunisia through the analysis of various ideological essays and literary productions. The second section discerns and analyzes ways in which diaspora minority groups in Paris construct and perform their complex intersectional identities (focusing on language choice and linguistic attitudes). It analyzes the complex and subtle intra-group differences, while challenging presumptions about intra-group uniformity and homogeneity among minority communities both in Tunisia and the diaspora. The third section examines the history of inter-religious relations and collective memory formation in Tunisia. It historicizes today’s social memories about former religious and national minorities and discusses how these memories are created, retained, and reproduced through social experiences, personal narratives, and archival documents.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Middle Eastern & North African Studies