Securitization of the Unemployed and Counter-Conductive Resistance in Tunisia

Saerom Han* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


While resistance has been increasingly studied in critical security studies, its role has been mainly understood as either a deconstructive or a reconstructive force in processes of securitization owing to the perceived externality of resistance to domination. By contributing to the governmentality approach to security with Foucault’s concept of counter-conduct, this article aims to explicate a particular mode of resistance in which the securitized subject resists, not by refusing the status of being securitized, but by counter-securitizing the self. In doing so, the article shows how dominating and resisting actors mutually construct a particular issue as security. The utility of the concept of counter-conduct is empirically examined via the case of Tunisia, where the unemployed have been securitized in the context of counter-terrorism since the 2011 uprising. By analysing the narratives of the ruling elites and unemployed protesters collected from local news, Facebook posts and semi-structured interviews conducted by the author between 2016 and 2017, the article illustrates how protesters actively participated in the securitization of the unemployed in order that they might be able to continue their socio-economic struggle and position their right to work as the most efficient way of fighting terrorism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-173
Number of pages18
JournalSecurity Dialogue
Issue number2
Early online date8 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Open Access offered under Sage Agreement
I would like to thank the editor of Security Dialogue, the anonymous reviewers, Andrea Teti, Emma Dolan, Chayuth Chamnanseth, Gabriela Garcia Anderson and Beth Wallace for their constructive comments on earlier versions of this article.
The author received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


  • counter-conducts
  • critical security studies
  • Foucault
  • protest
  • resistance
  • Tunisia


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