Jérôme Heurtaux: Elites and Revolution: Political Relegation and Reintegration of Former Senior Government Officials in Tunisia. [Abstract]
What happens to the state elite of an authoritarian regime after its collapse? This article proposes an answer by examining the Tunisian case after the fall of Ben Ali’s regime in 2011. Based on a corpus of in-depth interviews with sixty or so ex-politicians or civil servants, the article starts by describing the collapse of the regime in terms of the experience and perceptions of some of those who had served it. This is not presented as a series of institutional and political events linked up in a homogenous and unidirectional process, but rather as a variety of individual experiences, each unique. The fall of the regime thereby emerges as a concrete experience of political relegation, documented in precise detail by the accounts given of it. Analyzing this experience provides a way of testing several hypotheses regarding the post-revolutionary careers of former senior officials, stressing just how complex and diverse the paths are for reintegrating the political class.