Jean-Baptiste Gallopin (Yale University)
Choix conditionnel et dynamiques collectives de changement historique dans la révolution tunisienne (2010-201)
Gemeinsame Sitzung mit dem Forschungsschwerpunkt 1 – Staat, Recht und politischer Konflikt
Why did Tunisia alone peacefully transition from authoritarian rule in the wake of the Arab Spring? This question addresses the broader sociological puzzle of variation in revolutionary outcomes. Drawing from rich archival and interview data, I pursue a microanalysis of three pivotal moments in the Tunisian case. The dissertation reveals endogenous forms of causality that cast doubt on the explanatory value of dominant structural accounts, which emphasize the decisional impact of positional interests, dispositions and an objective balance of power. In contrast, situational logic trumps motivational or contextual factors inherited from the long run, because actors facing the confusion and instability characteristic of revolutionary and post-revolutionary situations make their behavior conditional on one another. Hence the aggregate outcome of revolutions is sensitive to small events, and thus probably unpredictable. But we can explain individual and collective behavior by developing systematic propositions about the processes by which actors understand their situation and adjust to one another in these exceptional conditions.