Performing Self-sacrifice, Despite Everything or Despite Oneself? Embodying a Necropolitical Space of Appearance in the Tunisian Revolution

  • Joachim Ben Yakoub
Part of the Avant-Gardes in Performance book series (AGP)


The authoritarian regime in Tunisia can be defined as an intensive bio-political regime where disciplinary techniques of surveillance and governmentality are entangled with sovereign logics of exceptionality and decisionism. Authority and power is woven through every aspect of everyday life and to exceptional instances of the power over life and death. Within a bio-political imperative, the body must constantly be managed, governed and controlled. The body is therefore at the same time the strongest medium to enact protest. In this light, we can read the self-sacrifice of the different martyrs during the liberation phase of revolution as a potent symbol of disruption of the expected cooperation of the body within bio-political power that allowed for the appearance of the people in all its complexity and diversity, including the life of the most disenfranchised. Comparing the performances of Fanni Roghman Anni and Danseurs–Citoyens, two different collectives that emerged during the revolution, the performance of self-sacrifice will further be analyzed as a condition for the coming into being of a necro-political space of appearance. Not only the bodies in the street but additional embodied artistic performances during the constitutive phase of the revolution produce extra-discursive effects outside the bio-political logic, that allowed to further engage in fundamental ethical question in the future constitution of new post-revolutionary body politic.

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joachim Ben Yakoub
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Conflict and Development StudiesGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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